Saturday, December 10, 2011

Step-by-Step Building Sexual Tension Between Characters

We'll do a kind of mini-workshop on the blog to show you how to build sexual tension either in a book or script. Watch the two methods I employ between Brea and her love interest Drew.

Read it below, and I will deconstruct it for you to show you the slow progression and build up. Please notice, I know the entire storyline between these two, so I'm working by making subtle gestures that only an informed audience would notice, which is why you need to know where your story is going and how you intend for it to end so you can build the foreshadowing into the story. I'm not suggesting you don't let some parts of the story organically evolve, but I do know that to build the story arc you need to the end game and character flaws and motivations. So, let me deconstruct that scene for you.
  • Notice a lot of looks pass between them (keeping the focus on the eye-to-eye contact, which is one of the keys to building sexual tension). And mind you, nothing is sexier than a forbidden touch. 
  • Drew also very intimately brushes that hair off her face, which is a very close, personal gesture -- and see that she "allows" him to come that close and into her personal space zone, which if she was not attracted she would not allow.
  • Notice, she doesn't rebuff this extremely personal advance. In the book, California Girl Chronicles, she expresses her feelings through her thoughts; but in the script, I have to convey what's on her mind by what she does or doesn't do. The attraction between the characters comes out in behaviors.
  • Now this is very subtle and you need to pay attention. When she walks away from him, she is aware he is staring but she's a little uncomfortable. She looks down (suggesting her discomfort), but when her hair falls down around her face, she swiftly brushes it back and what does she do? She exposes her neck to him. The neck is a vulnerable place. It's erotic and beautiful, but also it is a vital place on the body that supplies blood and oxygen to the brain. Her exposure suggests she is and will be vulnerable to him. Readers of the book know how that ends. 
  • At the same time, it's a sexy gesture and alluring to him; hence building more sexual tension.

Drew finishes his set. He walks coolly off stage. The groupies race up to him to chat, but he politely brushes them off and walks straight over to Brea who now stands next to Lance. Drew stops right in front of Brea, and he leans in close to her so he can meet her eyes.

DREW
So what did you think?

Lance steps eagerly forward.

LANCE
It was awesome, dude.

Drew doesn’t even look at Lance but keeps his eyes unflinchingly right on Brea, who doesn’t resist him.

DREW
We’re playing again at Barkley’s next week. You should come.

Continuing to eye-fuck her, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a card a logo of the outline of the band’s profiles. He hands it to Brea.

DREW (CONT’D)
Call me.
Brea looks at the card and back up -- he never once looks away.

BREA
Is that how you roll? Girls just call you?

Drew smirks, gives her a devilish grin, and they both lock eyes in silence. Drew finally goes to leave and lightly reaches out to brush a hair off her cheek to which she looks down at the touch and back into his eyes. He struts off.
Lance turns and watches him go.

LANCE
He’s hot!

Brea frowns at Lance, and looks over her shoulder to watch Drew from behind. Then she returns her attention to Lance.

BREA
Do you like boys or something? Because gay or bi, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a straight-away to Gayland. And I don’t ride those attractions.

Lance grabs, pulls her to him, and playfully hovers close to her face. He reaches all the way around her waist and pushes her into his groin.

LANCE
What do you think?
Brea is surprised and kind of sizes him up.

LANCE (CONT’D)
Can I have that kiss now?

Brea grins flirtatiously and slowly, hesitantly nods. Lance grabs her hand and they head toward the exit.
EXT. NIGHT CLUB - NIGHT

They fall into the parking lot LAUGHING together. Lance nods at Drew, who now stands with his band mates, but Drew only has eyes for Brea and ignores the gesture. Brea looks down and tucks her hair that falls forward behind her ear, which exposes her neck, in a self-conscious gesture.

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