BAKE A McGuffin into your script! It will sell!
(muh-GUF-in) noun, also MacGuffin by Anita Sands Hernandez
A device that helps propel the plot in a story but is of little importance in itself. [Term coined by film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980).]
A McGuffin is SO IMPORTANT that the WHOLE MOVIE --- WITH ONE-- MAKES SENSE. A MCGUFFIN lends URGENCY. A McGuffin could be a person, an object, or an event that characters of a story are VERRRY interested in. Everyone in the flick from start to finish is moving because of that Mc Guffin!
For example, in Hitchcock’s movie North by Northwest, thugs are on the look out for a character named George Kaplan. Roger Thornhill, an ad executive, gets mistaken for Kaplan and so he is chased instead. Meanwhile Thornhill himself tries to find Kaplan who doesn’t even exist. So case of mistaken identity. But the MCGUFFIN is the FORMULA that James Mason is trying to take back to Europe. It does Exist. And Mason will kill for it so the McGuffin has spellbinding power.
In Hitchcock film "NOTORIOUS, Cary Grant is after the formula to the atom bomb which Ingrid Bergman's Nazi hubby and his group of spies hid in a wine bottle in his immense wine cellar.
In another of Hitchcock's films, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, the MCGUFFIN was a melody. If it was played then the German Spy would know.....God knows what.
Hitchcock explained the term in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University: "In regard to the tune, we have a name in the studio, and we call it the ‘MacGuffin’. It is the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories it is always the papers. We just try to be a little more original."
Hitchcock says he borrowed the term from a shaggy-dog story where a train passenger is carrying a large odd-shaped package. The passenger calls it a MacGuffin and explains to the curious fellow passengers that it’s a device used to catch lions in Scottish Highlands. When they protest that there are no lions in the Highlands, he simply replies, "Well, then this can’t be a MacGuffin."
The quality of it's being insanely important to one character, and pivotal tothe plot even if it's fairly unknown to the reader is deliniated by this sentence, found online: "What disrupts all this is a McGuffin so gnarled and elaborate as to throw the novel out of whack, even as it propels the plot. An insane Japanese student armed with a poisonous powder invades the house convinced that he is in love with Hazel."
Richard Eder; The Day After a Night of Happiness; The New York Times; Mar 16, 1999." I’m saying that they can’t be this bad. I’m saying there’s something underfoot here, something calculated; a charade, a clever ruse, a MacGuffin, if you will."
Most memorable McGuffin of modern times? The mysterious thing that Robert Redford's CIA co-workers have stumbled on, which propels the agency to murder them all, in DAY OF THE CONDOR. You never see it, you barely hear what it was, but the movie works. IT PIVOTS on the MCGUFFIN! If you have mcguffin examples, we'll post them here. by Anita Sands Hernandez who's at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 'POSTER-BLOGGER' is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, Researcher, mother of 4, grandmother of 6, also a career Astrologer. Catch up with her websites TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! FRUGAL LIFE STYLE TIPS, HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also ARTISANRY FOR EXPORT, EARN EUROS....* Anita is at email@example.com ). Get a FREE natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic! No smarter DESTINY reading out there
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