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THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

What is a MacGuffin?

If you’re going to make a movie the first you need to learn (beside how to point and shoot a movie camera) is, what is a MacGuffin.


Indiana Jones with the Ark of the Covenant – the macGuffin from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

According to Wikipedia, a MacGuffin (also known as a McGuffin or Maguffin) is “a plot element that catches the viewers’ attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction.” The common wisdom with screenwriters is that a MacGuffin can be almost anything, but many times it’s mysterious or open to interpretation by the audience. All the characters seek it and are after it, it can be a mission, survival, power, a potential threat or maybe something completely unexplained.

MacGuffin’s Make the Movie
MacGuffin’s are common in filmmaking and even game development, especially action flicks. In most movies, a MacGuffin drives the central plot. It’s introduced in the first act, takes a backseat in the second (act as the characters, their motivations and connections) to it are played out and then the MacGuffin may be re-introduced or forgotten entirely as the story evolves.

Learning what a MacGuffin is and its importance is vital to learning digital filmaking. Steven Spielberg is a filmmaker that more than understands the postives and negatives of a good MacGuffin. On the topic of the Macguffin for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly, “I sympathize with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin (the crystal skull) because I never liked the MacGuffin. George [Lucas] and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin.”

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posted by Vince Matthews in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

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