» Posts Tagged ‘structure’

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walterwhite_tonysopranoA few months ago, I wrote a post called The Story of Story, which attempted to explain, in as simple a way as the subject can bear, the roots of narrative structure, and specifically, how these roots were planted several thousand years ago, in ancient Greece, and have been passed down through the works of Aristotle. Today, I’ll begin with a sort of riddle: what do David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, and Vince Gilligan, the mad genius behind Breaking Bad, have in common? That’s easy enough, you say. Well, then, what if I asked how they differed? It’s not an impossible riddle, but its answer just might be the key to the next story hurdle you have to surmount. And it might be closer than you think. More »

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Save the Cat Blake Snyder story structureThanks to the wisdom of puppets, we recently learned how the hero’s journey is a quite prevalent story structure in many successful films. But does the hero’s journey story structure always work in movies? With the recent spate of summer blockbusters falling far short of expectations, pundits have searched for a common trend for their failure. A recent article from Slate has determined the repeated story structure of Hollywood films makes them all feel the same. More specifically, the article contends that Hollywood relies too heavily on the beat sheet from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat screenwriting book to tell its stories. Screenplays require structure, but are screenwriters relying too much on that structure to tell their stories? To make an original film today, maybe we shouldn’t save the cat. More »

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The Hero's Journey glove and boots puppets Joseph CampbellScreenplays are structured stories, pure and simple. Most screenwriting books will essentially tell you the same things about structure, putting their own unique nomenclature on the common story beats found in screenplays. One structure referenced frequently in screenplays is Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, more commonly known as “the hero’s journey”. Not familiar with the hero’s journey? Nonsense. You’ve seen Star Wars, right? Then you’re familiar with the hero’s journey. To learn about it in relation to your screenwriting, you could read Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. But it’s summertime. So why not watch a 6-minute YouTube video with puppets explaining the hero’s journey instead? More »