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First Look At An Analysis Of se7en

Decoding the narrative strand beneath a dark and compelling thriller.

Earlier this week I presented the Narrative First approach to Dramatica. Over the years I found an increased level of Audience engagement when I queried a favorite film from the attendees. Opening their eyes to an enlightened understanding of why they were so drawn to the work inspires a level of comprehension not found in a straight presentation.

The head of this development company initially chose Forrest Gump. Knowing the narrative of that film to be propaganda at best[1], I asked for his second favorite.

se7en was his next choice.

Disregarding the considerable leap in Genre Reception between a heartfelt character study and a dark and terrifying thriller, I jumped at the opportunity.

For years, I used the ending sequence of se7en as an excellent example what it looks like when a narrative presents a Story Outcome of Failure and a Story Judgment of Bad. The combination of these two story points form the foundation for all Tragedies and help communicate the Meaningful Ending intended by the Author.

While I work on the professional story analysis of the film, I offer the whiteboard from the presentation—completely aware of its resemblance to page out of one of John Doe’s journals.

The Whiteboard from the analysis of se7en


  1. Jenny changes her Resolve after she finds out she is going to die of AIDS. A more meaningful—and compelling narrative—would find her making that change before the diagnosis. ↩︎