March 11, 2010


“Write simple stories and complex characters.” – Paul Lucey

A frog was sitting by a river swollen by a recent flood, when a scorpion came up to him. “Mr. Frog, the river is much too wide for me to swim across. Could you please take me across on your back?”

“Oh, no,” replied the frog, “when we got to the middle of the river, you would kill me with your sting.”

“Why would I do that?” asked the scorpion. “If I killed you, you would sink to the bottom and I would drown.”

The frog had not thought of that scenario but it made perfectly good sense.

“Okay,” said the frog, “hop on.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Frog,” said the scorpion as he hopped on the frog’s back.

The frog was a strong swimmer, and in no time at all they reached the middle of the river, but still much too far for the scorpion to get safely to the other side. Nevertheless, the scorpion stung the frog with his stinger. As the frog began to die from the poison, and the scorpion began to drown because he had lost his ride, the frog asked incredulously, “Why? Why did you sting me?”

The scorpion replied, “It’s in my character.”

(The text is taken from Nicholas T. Proferes’ wonderful book Film Directing Fundamentals. It is actually an old fable of unknown author.)


  1. speaking of character,guess, the frog was foolish!

  2. I dont think any character can ever be termed foolish. What do you say? Which is the most complex character you have seen?

  3. Most complex?
    Difficult to say.

    Some nominations from Hindi cinema:
    Amol Palekar in Bhumika
    Tabu in Maqbool
    The three leads in Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi
    Gandhi (in all films based on him except Attenborough's 'Gandhi')

  4. In English films:
    Marlon Brando in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'
    Al Pacino in 'Godfather-2'
    Robert De Niro in 'Taxi Driver'

    In European Cinema:
    Every other character!

  5. This story is the essence of the movie The Crying Game [oscar-screenplay]. Have you seen it? If not, don't google it before watching as the spoiler would really spoil the movie experience for you.