1. The movie has to reach at least two hours – Two hours is the minimum amount of time that any movie needs to fully outline a good story, fully develop complex characters, define a conflict, and resolve it. Though the average movie-goer prefers a movie time around 90 minutes, two hours is necessary for a movie to be better than just entertaining.
2. Have good storyline – The story line is what compels viewers to keep watching the movie. It keeps them engaged in the plot of the movie which makes the necessary two hours fly by. People expect a poignant story to be told whether they consciously know it or not.
3. A clear, charismatic protagonist introduced early in the film – The hero of the film is one of the most important figures that the movie has. The hero has to be engaging and genuine. This person has to be someone that can connect with the audience on many different levels. They have to be a emotionally complex, but well-defined in the context of the movie. The hero has to be believable. Man or woman, the hero has to be able to carry the film.
4. Clear antagonist that is introduced early in the film – The antagonist or villain of any movie is the most important character. And, in order for him to be truly effective, he has to be shown early in the film. The villain can be a simple, static character as long as he is vile and ruthless. However, the best villains are as complex or more complex than their protagonist.
4. Slow revelation of the villain – The most entertaining movies introduce the villains early in the movie, but do show his foul intentions until later in the movie. The more unsuspecting his character is early in the movie, the more profound his impact is on the story.
5. There has to separate sub-stories that are relevant to the main storyline – The best films have smaller roles that directly affect the overall efficacy of the movie. This means that the better movies are also full of compelling and well-defined smaller characters. They personal conflicts that force them to mature through the course of the movie and they ultimately help or hurt the cause of the two main characters, the hero and the villain.
6. Villain must be willing to do anything – The ability of the antagonist to cause chaos at any cost directly affects his effectiveness in a movie. A great villain has to be willing to do anything to add tension to the story. The more insane and sadistic the villain, the better it is for the movie.
7. Slow progression towards conflict between protagonist and antagonist – The best conflicts are ones that simmer to a boil. If the conflict is revealed to soon or too late, then the audience loses interest. When a movie is entirely too predictable, the movie is boring, and when there is no tension building then a movie is not worth watching.
8. Conflict – The conflict has to exceed the expectations of the audience. The protagonist and antagonist should find themselves in the midst of conflict or the villain should arrange it unbeknownst to the hero. This is the high point of the movie and should be absolutely enthralling. Whether the villain or the hero wins the conflict, the entire movie rests on the director’s ability to convey this contention between the protagonist and antagonist.
9. Resolution of the conflict – All loose ends have to be tied up in the last ten to twenty minutes of the movie. Each separate story has to reach an end before the movie ends. All the characters have to be addressed in respect to the future.