Applying Turby’s Theory: Forgetting Sarah Marshal

To assist my understanding of Turby’s Steps to Screenwriting, I thought I would apply it to a film I watched recently.

His 7 essential Steps (part of the 22 steps):

1. Weakness and need: a hero with a weakness  and a need

Jason Segel’s character Peter Bretter is the story’s hero. His weakness is the fact he has been dumped by his long term girlfriend, Sarah Marshal, and he is heartbroken. His desire, is to get over this heartbreak.

2. Desire: the backbone of the story that drives the hero …notice that the desire, the want, isn’t the same as the “need”.

The character wants to find himself out of his relationship with Sarah Marshal.

3. Opponent: this character, often the antagonist, must go against the protagonist by wanting the same thing.

Sarah Marshal is the opponent in the story, he must overcome his love for her and the temptation that comes with her. Aldous Snow is her accomplice.

4. Plan: heroes who want something need a plan of action.

He goes to Hawaii to spend some time away. 

5. Battle: when the story boils to a crisis.

The story gets complicated because his opponent, Sarah Marshal is there with her new rockstar boyfriend. 

6. Self-revelation: here the hero realizes what he wanted wasn’t what he needed…..I want to say this again, The hero wants something but he realizes that what he wanted wasn’t what he needs.

He also then realises that Sarah Marshal is not the girl he wants and it is, Mila Kunis’ character, Rachel that he wants.

7. New equilibrium: with the new knowledge the world changes for the character.

The story reaches a new equilibrium when Peter manages to reach his goal of putting together his Dracula based puppet musical and he ends up with the girl he wants.


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