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of people say, "Wow, that was so cool, we should make a movie
out of that." Bullshit. Every cool moment does not make a movie.
Cool moments are like the steamed carrots on the side of a chicken
dinner, you didn't come to eat the carrots, you came to eat the chicken.
That's what your audience came to do, eat the chicken. Wait...no...
they came to eat the story. No...I mean they came to watch the story.
that belong in a movie have a definite structure, without a structure
people feel like they are wasting their time. This is most evident
when watching things on cable access. You will turn the TV on and
see a beautiful picture of a bird flying around a canyon. You think
something will soon happen to engage you. The camera pans out. You
watch for another 10 minutes. Then the camera zooms in. The end. Fudge.
You feel like you just lost 10 minutes of your life. You get up from
the TV pissed off wanting to light something on fire. Don't fall into
the trap or make other people victim to the trap of shitty video.
While there are many types of visual story telling, here is a three
step process to help you start story forming an idea.
1: Start with a problem.
generate an idea for a story, start with a problem. A problem can
be a need, a want, or personal characteristic. It is anything that
has the potential to be resolved. The problem could be real or completely
fictional, it doesn't matter. Now ask yourself if somebody would want
to solve the problem you just created. When the movie is written,
the problem doesn't have to be solved. But the question is would your
audience care if the problem to be solved. If the answer is yes, move
on, you just generated your first idea. If the answer is no, then
start over and repeat step 1.
2: Give me my main character.
you have created a problem(conflict), you can decide who or what has
the problem. But more importantly, you have to decide who should be
in charge of fixing the problem. The person who is ultimately in charge
of fixing the problem is your main character.
character can go about many different routes to arrive at the resolution.
Sometimes it could be he has to start doing something, or maybe he
has to stop doing something. Regardless of what it is, the story will
focus on his actions(or lack of action) to determine the outcome of
character is the one given responsibility for challenging the main
character. For instance in the movie "The Fugitive" it easy
easy to recognize Dr. Richard Kimble(Harrison Ford) as the main character
and(Tommy Lee Jones) as the obstacle character. In the movie Star
Wars it is easy to recognize Luke Skywalker as the main character,
but who is the obstacle character? Most people would guess Darth Vader,
but in fact it is Obi One. Obi One is the one who challenges Luke
to "Use the force".
a main character in charge of attacking your conflict you have just
created something with a backbone. Your have thought up of something
that 80% of the Internet and cable access doesn't have: a storyline.
3: moving towards the resolution.
will now think about how the story will progress to a certain goal
called a resolution. The resolution doesn't have to be positive. Your
resolution could be the main character doesn't accept the problem
and the problem ultimately destroys the main character. The outcome
can be written as positive, negative or for the audience to decide,
but make, or at least hint at, an outcome.
it is time to get really advanced there are a few computer programs
on the market to help foster your creative ideas into something that
people would want to watch. One program is called Dramatica (List
$399 Screenplay Systems) This program takes note cards to the next
level. Dramatica's major premise is "the Grand Story Argument".
The argument suggests that their is a certain way large audiences
respond to films. Dramitica guides you into that "way" by
prompting you with questions based on other questions. When you are
done answering the questions and filling in the blanks, you will theoretically(according
to Screenplay Systems) have a complete idea on what to write. It works,
but it isn't for all. Dramatica has a very steep learning curve that
can be very time consuming and confusing. But even if you do not master
Dramatica, using the program will force you to think more deeply about
your story and how all stories are written. Dramatica is a a great
program, but is not easy and will not come up with a story. If you
decide to use it, be prepared to spend some time learning the program.
Creating an Outline
that you have a complete story form it is time to translate it into
an outline. One way to start is by drawing a diagram.
you see was actually formed by Aristotle( Poetics), in his attempt
to make sense of why some plays succeed while other's fail. This diagram
still holds true today. While your screenplay may not be exactly to
this form, this diagram can be used for the foundation of dramatic
the Tension Vs Time diagram, create story points from your story form.
Map the story points to the diagram.
your story points and diagram, start creating scenes that fit into
your story points until you have a complete outline. Obviously there
is a lot more that goes into what has been mentioned here. Hopefully
this will get you started and thinking about how to create stories
that people will want to see. Once you have finished your outline,
it is time to gather up all those cool moments in life (we called
>> Writing your idea on paper.
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