Over the weekend, I saw Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. I went in with low expectations because the Indiana Jones movies have been, to put it politely, erratic in quality. It was amazing! A solid, entertaining, old-fashioned in a good way movie.

What made me so excited and nostalgic about The Dial of Destiny was the writers and director let Indy do what he does best, fight Nazis for a powerful historical artifact while he’s grappling with his own emotional journey. It’s full of callbacks to Raiders and The Last Crusade and yet stands on its own for viewers who have never seen those films. I left the theater jazzed and hopeful. Maybe the movie industry can recover. Maybe the old traditions that made movies so great are finally back. Go Indy!

No matter what genre you are working in, The Dial of Destiny is a great reminder to keep in mind your audience‚Äôs expectations. Give them what they want in an entertaining way. Hit your tropes. Give your protagonist a juicy emotional ark. And keep the pace humming and the cliff hangers coming. 

Take a look at your story. Are you hitting all the right beats? Are you using your genre to give the audience what they want? What classic films should you watch for inspiration?

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