So, I have an idea. I think it's a really good idea. It falls into a sub-genre of thrillers I think of as daddy-daughter flicks, in which a father must rescue or revenge his little (often teenage) girl.
The problem I'm having is that I have an abundance of ideas about how to approach it.
I know who the main character is. I know who his antagonist and con-tagonists are. I know what the ending is, and I know everyone's motivations.
That still leaves me with a HUGE range of creative choices. I could write two or three complete screenplays based on these characters in this situation and have them be distinctly different.
The first dillemma: how much backstory do I front-load?
I could open with the scene of what happened to this man's daughter, showing just enough but leaving out some details that would be revealed later. The main character has suppressed parts of this event, but is also driven by it.
Or, flash back to it a few times as he encounters the individuals he's seeking revenge on, and as he remembers more. A little of this will happen regardless, because of the memory issue, but flashbacks are so tricky, perhaps they are best left alone. They seem natural to this storyline, but perhaps the audience will be more involved, and the structure will be simpler if I go with the first option.
Another approach: only hint at the event, dropping information through conversations and confrontations, without ever really showing it. I *could* even do this combined with the first option - showing very little in the opening scene, through the protag's faulty memory, and then hinting through the reactions of others that there was much more to the story
None of those are bad choices. Honestly, I love the third approach - not even showing the event, but teasing information about it through each scene, until we have a good idea - but never a 100% complete one...I'm just not sure my craft is strong enough to make that work on the page without being confusing. It's a problem I've had before.
The other major dramatic choice I'm making is between two basic approaches to the story. Make it a standard thriller-hunt type film like Taken? Or a mostly-single location psychological drama like The Negotiator and Albino Alligator?
The hunt has terrific possibilities for chase scenes, big set pieces, and lots of great cathartic torture them for info then blow them away moments. Basically, he knows where one of the people he's hunting for is, and uses them to get to the next one, leaving a trail of carnage and attracting the attention of the police. The pacing would be fast, and the story would be visceral.
The second option - have most of the people he's hunting gathered in one location, where he secures them and isolates them, then confronts each of them for information about the "truth" and the location/identity of the person who is really responsible for the bad thing that happened. Again, I lean toward this, but it's trickier to keep it interesting and tense.
Of course, I could actually write two screenplays...but since I've not written any (feature-length) scripts in a while, I think I'd better focus on just one!