In this episode, we catch up on all things Narrative First from the past three months and kickstart our year of plenty.
In this episode, we catch up on all things Narrative First from the past three months and kickstart our year of plenty. This includes everything from updates to the Narrative First Atomizer, new Dramatica analyses, the site redesign, building an animated television series, developing a complete story from scratch, and the biggest update to the podcast...
Show Notes & Links
- Dramatica Theory Book free & online and available to you right now!
- Narrative First Analyses literally hundreds & hundreds of story structure analyses from a Dramatica point-of-view
- Dr. Strangelove analysis satire with no story
- Boardwalk Empire: Season One storyform the first ever Dramatica analysis of an entire season of television
- Columbus storyform beautifully sublime film with a solid story as its foundation
- Narrative Arguments a sneak peek at this new revolutionary feature found within the Narrative First Atomizer
- Storyform Connections a look at a quick & fun way to find stories with similar structures
- The Florida Project an engaging film that almost tells a complete story
- Professor Marston and the Wonder Women an engaging film that tells a complete story with confidence
- The Throughlines of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women a visualization of this film's narrative structure
- Not Your Usual Approach to Developing Stories in-depth article on using the Atomizer to quickly find the structure of your story
- Dramatica: The Journey Towards a Better Understanding of Story a look into the importance of keeping things accurate
- Unravelling the Story Structure of Tangled: The Series discover the narrative thematics that propel this show
Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Narrative First podcast the only podcast where story is king. I'm your host, Jim Hull, the voice of Narrative First, and this is episode 58, The Year of Abundance.
Welcome back everyone to Season 3 of The Narrative First Podcast, it feels great to be back in the chair. Pulled the microphone out of the mothballs hooked it up, seems like everything is still working out the way it's supposed to work out, and we're ready for an entire year-- an abundant year--of narrative structure and story analysis from a Dramatica point of view.
So, what do I mean by abundance? Everything I do with Narrative First, there's just going to be more and more of it. There's an opportunity to really scale what it is that I've been doing for the last ten years. You know, I can only do so much. I can only have so many clients during a month, and there are only so many hours in a day that I can devote to doing analyses and specific articles about Dramatica, and how it works and my experience.
The idea behind the Atomizer, behind the Narrative First Atomizer, is that I can actually scale out everything I can do so that I can reach more people with what it is that I'm trying to teach. I have a very practical understanding of Dramatica. I know some people come to it, or they've seen it before and because of the way, it's been presented or whatever they've come to it, and they're like--this is just too overly complicated. It doesn't make sense. I don't want anything to do with it. It kills my creative processes.
So I have a completely different experience with that and for me, I found it to be extremely creative. And the ability to help people understand what it is that they're trying to say with their stories--just that spark when they come back, and they like "Wow, this is amazing like I totally get how this works now, and I understand where it's coming from"--that to me is my greatest joy, but unfortunately, there's only so much I can do. So the Atomizer, and the services attached to it, that's like a way so that it can reach more people it can like get out there and do more.
So when I say The Year of Abundance, that's exactly what I'm talking about is everybody getting to tell their story, everybody being able to write what it is that is in their heart, what it is they're actually trying to say and just to have more and more of it so that everybody can enjoy you know the the magnificence that is writing a really great story that that connects with people.
I know one writer I was talking with yesterday. He had a writing partner who is accomplished and has 20 years worth of experience and is a huge Save the Cat! fan like that's his thing, like Save the Cat! is is it, right? And there's nothing wrong with Save the Cat! it's just, it's very, very oriented more towards the storytelling part of the story creation process not so much the story forming like what's actually behind the scenes and sequences and acts and all that stuff.
So he's working with this writing partner and occasionally he's having insights as he's learning Dramatica--insights as to like, what's wrong with their story that they're working on together, and the veteran is like "Well, where are you getting all these ideas? You know where's this coming from?" And it's like well. you know Dramatica says this. It's like "I don't want anything to do with that. It's gonna kill my creative process. I'm an intuitive writer. I don't need anything like that.
And I guess, just last week his partner like actually downloaded the the free Theory Book that's available at Dramatica.com and started to read it and got back to him and said, "I wish I had started this two decades ago." He was just like completely blown away by it, and he has the experience so he's had the time writing and knowing what works in some stories, and what doesn't but probably hasn't had the ability to quantify it or actually put it down and now that he's actually reading the theory book. It's like. "Oh my God. This is the greatest thing in the world. Where was this two decades ago?"
The year of abundance is that inspiring moment that experience that co-writer had everybody gets to have that that to me would be amazing. By the end of 2018 if more and more people were actually using dramatica and being able to write really really great stories because this is the greatest time of year right? This is when we get all the movies that are going to be up for Oscar, so you get to stream everything. If you can't get out or you don't have movie pass or whatever you actually get to go and sit on your couch and watch all these great films, and this is when we get the great stories.
It's a really inspiring time of year, and it's also when you're trying to plan out what it is. You're going to be writing this year. That's kind of stuff. You're working on and to be able to find out exactly what it is about those stories that is inspiring to what's actually connecting with you, and why maybe some other film isn't connecting with you as much as it probably should. That's the whole purpose behind narrative first and behind everything that I do, and we're just going to have more of it this year.
So the first more of it would be the site redesign, if you go to narrative first. You'll see brand new site. I've gotten massively positive feedback one really super negative feedback. He doesn't like the stuck background because it looks like 1997 which at first. I was like maybe I don't like this, but then more people are on the positive side than they get of side so if you absolutely hate that. Yet, I'll let me know I've tried different things, but for some reason it just sticks with me, but I do love the the new look of it. part of the abundance is I'm going back through every analysis, so what I did is I used to have and I'm still actually doing this where for each film every analysis. Have a structure rating and an entertainment rating and that was me saying you know well. Just because the film has a horrible structure. It's completely broken it it can also be super entertaining like Florida project. With Willem Dafoe I think he's up for an Oscar for best supporting.
That's one where it's a great film, but the structure is broken. I gave it a structure rating of 1 this is out of 5 and an entertainment of 4. And that's was my recognition of the fact that it's like well sometimes you can have broken stories that are actually really entertaining and that doesn't mean that there's something necessarily wrong with them is just not communicating some kind of narrative argument. It's not really saying anything. It's not arguing a particular position.
What I've done in the site redesign is I've made it just 50/50 one or the other. It's either a complete story, or it's an incomplete story and either get the green lighter you get the red light, and if it's got the green light then you can open it in the atomizer and as long as you're signed in it's a really quick back-and-forth sort of thing so you can jump back and forth between the actual story form you know all the different story points that are set up in there, and then the actual written out analysis. on top of that. I got a really cool. Search feature put in and you'll be able to access everything and be able to find what you're looking for much quicker than you were before. So that's that with the site redesign.
last night. We had the user's group analysis of. Doctor Strangelove, and I never seen it before and I know what's his name is on the missile, and he's got the cowboy hat and I know I should have seen it a long time ago, but I never seen it watch the yesterday and while I thought Peter Sellers was amazing. I had no idea. Why anybody picked this film for us to do because I always feel like it's a waste of time to do films that are incomplete that don't have complete story forms like why are we doing this? Maybe once in awhile. It's okay, but it seems like recently. There's been more of those.
There was no relationship story through line definitely no main character through line, so it was funny. It was a satire and satires don't have story forms. They don't have complete arguments, so it's not like. They did anything wrong. It's just you watch it and it's like, Well, that was funny, but I never need to see this again that that's what is the problem with films that don't have complete story forms.
the other thing the Abundant thing is I know when you're going through and you're trying to develop stories and Dramatica is super complicated, right? It's really complex, and it should be because story is. Complex it shouldn't be easy it shouldn't be 15 sequences, or you know a journey where you get a sword and you come back, and you get to beat people with an Elixir or whatever it is. It should actually be complicated there should be actually something to it
and along the way there are parts that won't quite make sense to you because. It's telling you how you think and so you have to step back and think about how you think. so What's nice is to have an objective third person party who can answer questions for you, Somebody actually ask me a question about something that had stopped working during the last update the night before and I was in class and I was like uh shoot because I you know it's really important to me that everything is is working right and I don't want there to be any kind of a delay and then it occurred to me. It's like oh I could just do it. I did it from my phone. I fixed the bug I fixed it in a minute because I pretty much knew exactly what it happened. Quickly fixed it up and just took it out looked like I was writing a text message--and I was actually fixing my web service that was servicing hundreds of people across the world. That to me is amazing
Back in the I'll say 80s-- I learned everything on on my dad's PC which was a 64 kilobyte. Them which was the most expensive PC. I think it was like six grand or something IBM, PC. That's what I learned I learned that and Assembly Language actually liked to carry around the three-ring binder from wasn't Microsoft or maybe it was IBM. I can't remember what the label was. But it was a great cover
and I used to read it from front to back because I guess because it was like the dramatica theory book because there are all kinds of different commands and all this stuff the Assembly Language if you want it to be the fastest and best yet to learn Assembly Language. Okay, nobody programs and Assembly Language anymore. I don't think and from there. You know just learned everything I could went through basic. C+ all that stuff and that was my path until I wrote an adventure game those text based adventure games, and I spent 10 hours on it and when I went to turn off the computer. I forgot to save because there wasn't autosave once I realized what I had done. I cried for two hours and vowed never to use a computer again picked up a pencil became an animator and then five years later Toy Story came out and then five years after that everybody switched back to computers, and so I only got five years of drawing at Disney and then all of a sudden I had to start using a computer again,
I love programming and coding. It's a lot like structuring a story especially if you if you've ever heard Melanie talk about how those elements in the table of story elements. How those are actually processes, which is a really cool article that I buy should link to where hope like the issue of Hope isn't really you know. I hope I have hope it's the process of hoping. obtaining and learning those actually sound like processes, but. Memory-ing and subconscious-ing and Past-ing or Present-ing, those are all processes, and they're all kind of like object-oriented programming where you have different classes different objects that take information process through them right like a potential resistance current outcome like one of those circuits goes through that sequence and then sends back. You know whatever it is to go to the next object, and I believe that's how the theory is actually constructed.
for somebody who loves programming and love story telling its like the perfect conflux of everything everything all put together and the idea that I was able to fix it and help somebody out while going through doctor Strangelove was super amazing like I felt like I was living in the future and that anything was possible. it's the Abundant possibility of everything, that's. Possible now
so what can you actually do? What are some of the things because I have a feeling like I put all these great things into it and then people aren't really sure what to do with it, and then that's that's on me to make it more obvious what you can do
for instance that one writer. I was talking about the problem in his story. I'm not giving anything away. There's no spoiler is Non-accurate. Now Non-accurate is one of the more complicated elements to understand from dramatic and not only is it using accurate as a problem, which most people don't think of accuracy is a problem unless they're shooting guns or trying to land satellite on Mars. But non accurate is now two steps removed because now it's like the negative of something that's already difficult to understand in thematics.
And that brings up another thing that I was starting to think about over the break here, so it seems like you know nothing's been going on since the last time. I spoke to you. But actually the last two months have probably been more busy than ever before because as I develop it then all these ideas come up, and it's like how can I address these different concerns and one of them was non accurate and more importantly uncontrolled
as I was going through the definitions and cleaning stuff up. I would see uncontrolled and parts of that just didn't make sense to me. if a character is very reserved and they're very held back right so they have a problem of control like they always have to be in control of everything and then at the end their solution in dramatica in the story form would be currently uncontrolled, but the problem with uncontrolled is it focuses on control and a lack of control theoretically isn't supposed to be the same thing as uncontrolled, but a lack of control means you're uncontrolled.
there needs to be another term there that I think better explains. What's actually going on there, and the one that Chris says is the best one is free, but then that's weird because it's like I have a problem of free. But definitely the solution there, you know I'm a problem of free like it's just free. You're just free to go, but you're focusing on the actual process. That's they're not what it isn't but like the actual process what I'm going to be doing which is the next step I want to make sure that what is there in the service is the very best way to learn the dramatica theory of story
that's why I don't have situation fixed attitude activity and manipulation as the the four domains. I've kept it to the original Universe physics psychology and mind. Because I can tell you the last three months of working with writers novelists every single one of them oh, this is way better this makes more sense because everything is a situation and that's why everybody defaults to putting the Objective Story in a situation because really it's like what predicament is going on the domain of a through line isn't always a situation. It's like what's out of whack. keeping it to Universe physics like that is all there to help. Get writers to a place where they actually understand how the theory works, and how their story works,
I do know the best way to teach it and to get people to understand where it's coming from to be able to change them so something like uncontrolled is going to be changed to free and something like non-acceptance, which again is like why is it non-acceptance. Because then it's like oh that's the lack of acceptance right should be something like rejection or refusal what I'm going to do is I'm going to go through and all those negative words like non accurate. non-acceptance uncontrolled and make them the positive implications of what they are
you'll have your own settings place where you'll be able to set how you want to see a term so if you can't stand free and you want to continue making it more difficult for yourself, or you want to match up with other story forms online, then you can set uncontrolled, and then whenever that element comes up. It's always going to say that that's the plan there
eventually it's going to be so it's across all the analyses and everything so you'll just see it everywhere
also up at the top where it's got the eight Dynamics. the main character Dynamics and the plot Dynamics resolve growth Direction problem-solving style from the main character, and then the driver Spacetime, I'm going to make those much more conversational in nature because last night when we were talkin about dr. Strangelove. There's a huge discussion. about action and decision drivers and what makes what but the actual concept is actions Drive decisions and decisions Drive action, so I'm going to have something like that. That's up there.
And then you know the main character change. I'm actually have a descriptive thing. That's there also have the actual elements that are there that then the appreciations that they point to so that when you come to a story form and you look at it that it's not just a bunch of words that you're actually going to be able to learn. What's going on there.
Somebody asked last night. How can I learn all these definitions? the very best way is to just have an experience with the material when you have something like a problem of non accurate. What you need to do is find films that have a similar problem.
For this writer. What we did is there's a very simple search you just at the very top instead of searching around for everything you just type in the word Non accurate and actually I think you can type Non Acc and it'll pop up. You just click on it and in addition to the definition which probably isn't as important and maybe I should change the order of importance there. Actually, I should the first thing should be the gist
every writer has their own certain preconceptions as to what different elements should be. For me not accurate is not good enough I was raised Catholic sorry. So Non-accurate comes up. I have my own feelings of What Not accurate means and I remember being one of the harder ones for me to learn.
What I do is I look at the gist and there's 10 there right off the bat ten random ones. Gists are just like other versions of what non accurate means for instance. I have being untruthful about someone being lax, being careless being questionable being deficient. That's the one I know. Being misleading being erroneous. I get a feeling of what it is that that element is searching out for so I don't really read the definitions. I probably did when I first started out, but you know what I am going to change the order of it might not look as cool what I do is because the 10 I like to have more I click on more Gists and then I can just scroll up and down and get a feeling for what non accurate is all about and the great thing is the more people put up Gists I can start adding more and more and so that catalog just keeps growing growing growing. It gets more and more abundant. Do you see the theme?
was able to quickly explain to him and get him on the same page as to what that element was all about. The other thing is to find films that have a similar problem of non accurate and that is where the abundance of all the different story forms come into play, and why I'm going back through all the different analyses and adding them because the more examples the more samples there are there to match things up with the greater the possibility for the writer to learn exactly what that problem is actually all about
I think the last time we talked I think it was either Thor Last Jedi. so there's 18 or 19 been added. Lala land which was from the user's Group which will talk about a little bit later
we went through and Watch Boardwalk Empire, you know watching that first season it's such a complete story it's so solid. I in the story form was super obvious I think this is when I was starting to think about non-acceptance because the whole thing is about 1920s prohibition right least the first season is. And that's typically considered the best season although. I thought the last one was fantastic to but that first one very definitely the problem is non-acceptance
non-acceptance is like oh, I non accept things as opposed to rejection like rejecting booze rejecting alcohol that kind of stuff and then at the end. Margaret's Schroeder character, she eventually grows to a place where she accepts. nucky's help. She's actually in on it, hope I didn't spoil the first season for you because it's great.
That's the problem with story forms if you're going to write in and suggest a film for me to watch, somebody suggested Columbus. They said oh Columbus Is Beautiful film you should check it out, and that was great because they told me it was a great film. That I should check it out, and so I did .Other people right in and they say hey this film feels like a success bad ending because of this what do you think that spoils the ending for me, and then I don't have a reason to watch the film OK? People spoiled Empire Strikes Back for me my best friend Jason Elliott did and my other best friend Greg Reeves ruined Usual Suspects for me, and so my first surprise was Sixth Sense, which is great. I like surprises. I like to be surprised. I don't like watching films with holistic minded people ()my girlfriend() who ruins movies for me entire television series because she can see something happening five episodes down the road so to keep it to yourself. You can keep it to yourself with the story form so that's why it's like once. You know the story form you know everything. this is so much fun. I forgot how much fun. I was to do this. I can't stop talkin about how cool Dramatica and story forms
so Boardwalk Empire. That's the first time an entire season of a television series has been story formed the way that I built the atomizer is that I can actually go in and show how different episodes work into those story forms, and then have other story forms fit into that main one. There's usually like one huge story form.
of the articles I wrote over the last two months during the break was about the story structure of Tangled the television series now it finally played out the finale of the first season played out. And it was really well received part of the credit was the actual clear story form that was in there and so for that first series, which I'll get into later when I talk about it that was a complete story there was a complete story form for the entire first season so Boardwalk Empire did the same thing.
Another professional screenwriter wrote to me because he wanted to know what I thought about West world and what the story form for that was and I really love that series. I thought it was great partly because. It's filmed at Melody Ranch, which is where Deadwood the greatest television series of all time was filmed. It's right next to my house, and I've been there several times actually got to walk down the lane where they walked down and they come in on the train all that stuff. I've done that before it's great. It's really fun
and I also liked it. Secondly because it's Christopher Nolan's brother who helps him write stuff. They have similar appreciations for certain types of stories and those happen to match up with the kind of stories. I like. To write about and think about and experience. When it came to the story form for Westworld. I thought man. I have to go through that whole thing and I was right in the middle of watching Boardwalk Empire, and I just figured out that season, and I thought that was tremendous, and I hadn't really watched Westworld since. It first came out. And I couldn't convince my girlfriend to watch it again, so I had to do it on my own, which that means there's really not that much time for it, so I just sat down and watched the first 15 minutes of the first episode, and it was like oh, I know the story form is this is super obvious.
And that's a really cool thing when it comes to story forming process or at least analyzing or even your own work. You know that thing where if you write something, and you just immediately turn around and start editing it. You really can't divorce yourself from the writing process, so you go through and you really are still blind to the problems. as opposed to if you put it away like that Stephen King thing from on writing. Where you put away. I think for like six weeks, or a couple months, and then when you come back. It looks like something completely brand new well. That's because you've removed all the glitz and glamour of the storytelling and that experience and now you're just remembering what the story was actually about and that's what the story form is. It's what the story is actually about.
for Westworld the way, I was able to get that so quickly is because I was completely removed from everything having to do with the experience of like wow this is really cool. Story and actually being able to sit down and go oh this. Is these are all the Thematic sand the really cool part, which I'll get to when I actually do the full analysis of it actually put the story form up. Is that it predicted one of the characters motivating elements like where they're coming from to a T and it's like a huge reveal in this series. So I don't know if they used dramatica, or if they're familiar with it, or they're just really very intuitive about story forming, but to me. That's the magic of dramatic as when it all clicks into place in this element that you didn't select dramatic says hey, this is actually the this character's problem. You know you should if you're writing the story you should make it from here, but if not and it's confirming it. It's like. That's why the story works, so well.
talk more about Westworld when I when I do that one because I think I know the main story farm, and I think there's at least one other secondary story form that. I don't believe finished in the first season I think I'll probably be carried out in subsequent Seasons, that's definitely on the horizon that's part of the abundance of this year's because there's so much pull for serialized television for episodic television where that South Park joke where they they answer the phone at Netflix, and you automatically get a green light that kind of thing. So I want to make sure that people understand that when it comes to using the dramatic theory of story to actually write something like that. It doesn't matter. That that it's in a bunch of different episodes, or if it's in a novel or a series of novels. The idea that you're actually trying to tell a story like you're trying to argue something on your narrative argument. That was something else. That's in here, okay, so
the story form itself which is about 75 different story points appreciations of story structure that we can see it's all trying to argue something. It's trying to say this is the purpose of this narrative, and this is what this story is all about if you take something like what's a really familiar one. Lion King it's a really simple story form it's been done a zillion times, and The Narrative argument there, at least the story form is stop avoiding responsibility, and you can secure your place in the circle of life that is the story form it's the main character growth of stop. It's the main character problem of a void. responsibility? That ties into the main character through line of universe because he's the king he's his father's son. He's supposed to take that place and secure your place in the circle of life. That's all about the Objective Story. Goal of obtaining because there's a claim for the throne, and then the story Judgment of good and the story outcome of success
what I did is I went through all 380 story forms that I have in the Atomizer and each one has its own specific. Narrative argument, and that's at the top of every story form it gives you an idea of what is the reason for the story form it's not because dramatica says it's because this is what you're trying to say with this kind of story. And I really think that's a great way to understand how the story form works, and I've done that for every single. Story form that's in there, and it's the only place where you'll find that
another one might be what's another one people have seen zillion times Well if you saw Thor. so the narrative argument for that and this is all procedural the program itself actually fills in the blanks Peace of Mind awaits. Those who stop charging in even if it means failing to save something you love from destruction. and you can apply that to any kind of stories, so it could be maybe you're the thing you love from destruction is your family or it's a marriage or its an art project that you've been working on forever you could tell a story about that and you could just grab the story form from Thor and know use that as the basis for your new story,
every story form in there has a narrative argument, and I have Columbus there, which is a fantastic I still have to right the analysis for that so Sublime, but just really great and something that you don't get to experience that much usually you know there aren't too many holistic problem-solving main characters nowadays, and so it's really nice to have that experience so you can see what that would look like from the other side the Spider-Man homecoming. I finally put up a lot of these I might not write in a huge analysis of right will eventually. But I know the story form. I'll watch it and it's like oh that's really obvious story form. I want to make sure I get that up there and then I'm going back through all the analyses that I've done over the years, I got mawana up there hacksaw rage Captain Fantastic 45 years, which I forgot that I even did that one. I even forgot. I did enough said that's another holistic. Main character of course. I have the Sweet Hereafter, which is totally tragic and dark, but brilliant,
right now there's 378. I won't be adding doctor Strangelove. That's for sure, and then I'll be going through. the 20 or 40 so that I've done over the years narrative first always building up always putting in more and more stories in there so that you'll be able to draw from it actually be able to experience it
that brings me to the greatest coolest feature that I was able to do and just days though over this last weekend. Called story form connections now. There's something like this on the dramatic sight, but this one has all the story forms access all the storms that I've done the ones that I've cleaned up and make sure all accurate,
there's four sections. There's the Dynamics the Thematic the signposts and the plot points now. I know theoretically it's all thematics attics, but just to make it easier for people. you have the Dynamics which are the main character resolve. Story outcomes story judgment you have the Thematic switch are all the through line appreciations like the through line the concern the issue the problem. then you have the different signposts, so that's the plot progressions for each through line, and then the plot points the Objective Story plot points like goal consequence requirements all that stuff and what you can. Do is you can add them together and say okay show me all the films that are main character result of a steadfast, and it's instant you don't have to click anything. It's all instant so now you can see Amadeus. Chinatown fugitive Rebel Without a Cause it's like okay? I see that and then I want the personal tragedies, so I put in success and I add up. Bad so we have steadfast success bad Chinatown is still in there. But now I can see Romeo and Juliet's there Silence of the Lambs the Imitation game Prestige. You know which is one that I just did a couple months ago. 45 years is here. The one I left so these are all steadfast success. Bad
if you have a story form that has the same sort of similar thing. Are you want to tell a personal tragedy about somebody who just stays the course no matter what and it ends badly for them, but they're able to actually succeed overall you get an instant list of what it is that would be enough that would be cool enough, but maybe I also I want to just deal with an Objective Story through line in universe so you can just add that to it and now all of a sudden. We're just down to six so Chinatown Silence of the Lambs episode Ally McBeal, which I'm sure. You'd never seen Mrs. Maneuver Lord the Flies and the prestige
but maybe I want to go even deeper and just do an Objective Story concern of the past. So now it's just Chinatown and The Prestige now. I see if I have a film where I'm exploring an Objective Story concern of the past and steadfast success bad two narratives that have a very similar structure have very similar feeling to it are Chinatown and The Prestige and so what I'll do is. I'll load those up. If I haven't seen them before I'll watch them, and then I have that experience of that narrative. I'll be able to experience what it feels like to be in that kind of. story and then be able to apply it back to my own story.
it's not this General thing where every story is the same stories are different depending on what it is. You're trying to argue the different narrative arguments. And those story appreciations, those are the ones that kind of determine what it is. You're trying to say
this to me is really exciting and then also you'll be able to do Objective Story concern in the past and maybe the future you can have both of them in there. You're going to be able to do. All kinds of different things to be able to quickly find the story form of your dreams,
the great part to me about being able to checkout plot progressions on it is that you can go in here in this came up with that. Same writer. We're talkin about Kia. What's it like the plot progression now the pla progression. Those are the signposts right now the theory talks about signposts, and you have for signposts, so there's four different areas. Of concern that the characters move through in order to figure out where the problem is and that's why you have four sections because there's four different types of looking at a problem within each three line so once you work through those and you're finished
the different narrative arguments take different paths through those types, so if you have a particular path in your not sure exactly. I'm not sure exactly what this means or how this feels you can go in here, and that's what we did and apparently, this is a popular one. I never realized that but the first signpost for the main character was in progress. the second signpost was in future. and now instantly in my head. I remembered exactly a film because I was writing about it, and there's a video. I want to make of it because this one film. I just I knew for sure this was the plot progression and for the third one the main character ended up in the present.
Once you pick that and obviously I could put in signposts for the past it has to be the past because that's the only thing that's left and you get 29 different narratives that have the same exact plot progression. And the one for sure was the Lego Batman movie I really feel like they had dramatica because it's kind of tongue-in-cheek it's overly too much structure, but the First Act has the butler talking to Batman about how the progression of how he came from the 1960s version of himself through the Tim Burton version through that sad part. The middle Batman Robin to the Christopher Nolan version and just the progress of where he's headed like he's just headed down a dark path right and is very funny, and then the second signpost is when they captured the Joker and there's no need for the Batman so his Futures like wow what are you going to do, and I believe the present is when he kicks everybody out and he's all by himself or his locked in jail I forget what part that was and then the past is when he comes back to where he's been so that is his plot progression.
for this writer who's writing a little more serious film, being able to experience what it feels like to be a main character moving through those different signposts. This is a great great feature great resource to be able to do it another film that it picked up was Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman which is. Something I'll be talkin about in the analysis here. That's another one and the great thing about that is that more closely aligns with his film like what his films about just kind of a coming-of-age story and that it's the same exact plot progression so he can go through there and see what it is like okay. I understand because the problem when you have a story form at first when you're dealing with it. It feels a little restrictive because you never experienced this before you're not sure if it's like. Maybe I have the wrong story form so the way you get passed that is to expose yourself. That was the question last night like well. How do I how do I know how these things work? You just had to expose yourself to all these different story forms and just build up within you the knowledge of what it feels like to have this kind of plot progression inand that way you're able to evaluate yeah, this is the story want to tell her well. I never thought of it that way, but yeah, you know what that would actually fit really really well with what I have and that's that second one is usually the experience that most people have.
Okay, so to talk about the develop feature which to me is mind-blowing but maybe people don't understand about it although. It's crazy when there's thousands and thousands of story beats being added every day, with the develop feature instead of starting with what do I know about the story form you start with what it is you want to say like saving the princess right saving the princess?
you type saving the princess and you get all kinds of different Gists of what that would be like like saving something from premature destruction saving someone from a premature death saving one's future. saving someone from a particular group having feelings for someone. I would say probably the one that sounds like what it is. I want to say maybe just saving something right like I I'm just really into royalty, and I want to save I want to save everything there is to do with with royalty
and what you do is on the next step you choose the Thematic argument The Narrative argument that feels like the kind of story you want to tell
start choosing not to respond and you can survive any horror. That sounds a little too dark, that's from the counterfeiters keep making a big deal out of nothing and you can conceive of anything now if I was writing a comedy that would be really fun that was Blazing Saddles, South Park keep making a big deal about everything and you can invent something spectacular, maybe stop trying to save the world and you can discover your true potential.
That's awesome. And it's great because that's Spider-Man right Spider-Man homecoming stop trying to save the world and you can discover your true potential. I like that one
so you select that as your narrative argument, and it instantly creates an outline for your entire story and populates it with the 16 major beats and different story drivers, so it's like based on the story form from Spider-Man homecoming. It's gone through and quickly beat out the entire story, which is essentially what I do with Deliberate Storytelling, so this is how I'm able to scale myself right is essentially what I do except. I'm not there helping to explain anything, so you're going to do a lot more work on your own, but it's there for you, and you're able to quickly put it all together and to see how a story would be how the different story beats would lay out because of this narrative argument.
You know when you're trying to tell a story where there's only two Acts. it's a rise and fall two act structure you have a main character who completely changes their point of view, and then you have a triumphant ending and it's dealing with savings something like where it's all coming from where the problem is coming from this is the kind of story that you would likely tell.
It populates the goal studying global climate change. You know that doesn't sound good to me and what you can do is just very quickly click through and find different Gists that approximate that same goal.
you can just randomly just pick through learning about political candidates, and then educating migrant workers that doesn't really fit remember. We're trying to save the princess learning by understanding, No. Not really feeling that learning about a vampire and that one doesn't fit studying filmmaking hmm some of these aren't exactly what I was looking for. See educating children. How about learning something right or learning everything? Oh here? We go learning everything. There is to know about a beauty queen. Right, so, let's just say. She's the beauty queen I had to learn everything there is about her so I can take better care of her and make sure that it's there and make sure everybody knows how wonderful. She is that's whether all that's what the problem. The story is I gotta let everybody know
you have your first act the initial story driver. You can write down what the quote-unquote inciting incident is the action that starts everything out, and then let's see this you want to put in for the overall store. You always want to put in like a group of people right here says Piper's. I don't want Should it be about a group of Pipers?
Maybe so see the thing is I never thought about that so the Piper's maybe it's like they're the ones who are responsible for keeping up the the royalty so the first one is the Pipers understand something right? Well. That's pretty General. So what do they understand?
Oh here? We go the Pipers are unable to decipher a secret code. All right, so now. There's some secret code. That's come in. It's putting the princess in danger, and now they're unable to decipher it now the main character let's just say his name is Roger. So you quickly change it to Roger and now his first sign post is Roger recreates historic events so maybe he's obsessed with royalty and making sure that continues on and.
So then he has that part, and then I would quickly jot that down now the influence character. Let's say it is not the princess, but perhaps his daughter. what it's daughter's name be Lucille ok so Lucille is his daughter. The relationship is father daughter, and now Lucille is contemplative in the First Act.
Ehhh... Thinks over something at length. That doesn't really challenge me she dwells on something considers something so as you can see this is kind of like what I was doing with the gist where you get kind of a feeling for the different elements. I just made it a button that you push, so wonders about something so maybe she wonders whether or not royalty is all that important and that like flips him out because here dad is trying to recreate historic events.
It's really super important to him and now his daughter the next in line is thinking you know I don't think royalty such a good thing. I think everybody's equal and that's going to flip him out right and now the father-daughter relationship becomes someone better. That's not good changes from one form to another so that's great so now the relationship I kind of was going to already instinctively instead of the father-daughter now. It's the kind of teenage daughter young adult father.
if you have a daughter, or if you've experienced. This yet. I'm going through it where. They are the young daughter that you take care of and then they start to have ideas of their own, which is super annoying, but that's like where this this story idea which was all about I just started with saving a princess.
I'm just going to save a princess. That's when you all of a sudden now, and you know it's like 10 minutes into it. I have a really good idea of how this film is going to start out
Dads going to be obsessed with recreating the legend meanwhile his daughter's going to have her own head strong ideas about wondering about something else or maybe she's wondering about the universe she thinks maybe the Earth isn't the center of the universe, maybe the sun is and that's going to drive him nuts and then maybe this is just a story about that
it's great because that goal of learning everything there is to know about beauty queen maybe that's actually not about the princess, but it's learning everything. There is to know about the wonders of his daughter about who she really is so a Goal doesn't have to be this thing where I'm going to set out, and I'm going to conquer this because I'm a willful protagonist all that BS
it's could be just the the problems with learning about how things have changed how things are different. So that's the holistic version of the story form where you see it all at once and that to me is like super super really exciting if you can't tell my voice. I'm going to save this and I'm going to want to like actually create it.
So that's just the first signpost right not the first act as far as dramatic as concerned, and then you go on to the second signpost, which isn't this second act because this particular storyform is only two Acts, so now the Piper's study the Arts. So maybe these study the art of saving the princess, and it doesn't work.
Oh the pipers. Collect intelligence or educate adults so maybe it's both so while they're collecting intelligence about who this dastardly villain is that also educating the rest of the population about what's going on and now Lucille has knee-jerk reactions to some one, maybe she's now she's completely flipped out when her dad mentions anything else about the universe or she's impulsive, and now she's doing all kinds of crazy stuff that she never did before.
And you can see that's even going to drive their relationship to a different place where now Roger has something's freedoms progressively restricted Rogers and rapidly accelerating conditions. No that doesn't work. improves one situation. Yeah, maybe you know he was dealing with the past right and then his daughters like oh, maybe we're not the center of the universe and so now he's just going to be focused on improving. His own situation improving things around him and making it a better place and because of that now Lucille is going to completely flip out and be impulsive and have knee-jerk reactions to the way things have always been and now is when the father-daughter relationship has a fanciful idea comes up with a reason to live.
Let's see has an insight into someone and maybe that. An insight into I would probably make it more about their relationship like it has an insight into the relationship that maybe this is like not going to be the same and then you have the first midpoint, and that's the first act
you have this whole story which was just about going out to save the princess and now we know that starting out with unable to decipher secret codes and \Now they're collecting intelligence and trying to educate the adults and meanwhile. There's this private personal conflict between a father and daughter where he's trying to keep up traditions, and she thinks the world is a completely exciting place or maybe she thinks it's completely nuts oh, and so she's freaking out about him trying to hold on to that stuff and meanwhile they have a relationship. That's also growing
so while in the big picture story you have people trying to teach and they're going to learn about. How things really are it's also the relationship? I mean, it's going to be conceiving their conceiving of their relationship in a different light and those two are connected together,
I saw two disasters Lego Ninjago movie and the Emoji Movie both those had subjective concerns weren't. Tied with the objective concerns, and it was just story it was his tail there was no real connection between the two
here. You can see I just had an idea for saving the princess right really superb land thing and now all of a sudden in scope of 16 minutes 15 minutes I've been able to create. the first half of a complete feature where I tied the Objective Story concerns of trying to teach about the importance of royalty and keeping on tradition and saving the princess all that's saving you know what's there? I 've tied that in to emotional concerns of a father and daughter trying to save something that is changing like you can't really save that and I know you can feel like that's that's really moving and that to me is the beautiful part of stories when you're able to connect both the subjective viewpoints and the objective viewpoints into something that actually means something more than just just a bunch of stuff happening.
this is part of the develop feature for. The Narrative first atomizer and I have these sequences and I arrange them in the typical way pretty soon, you'll be able to drag and drop the sequences the different story beats out of place so that you can put them in the order that you want but again keeping true to the theory so you won't be able to drag signpost one story beats into the Signpost Two's area and vice versa it'll keep all that stuff consistent.
then at the very end you just save that out, and you have a full outline of your story that you can start writing from
the other thing you can do with this is you can fix incomplete stories so over the break too, and this is going to be a new feature how to fix incomplete stories, so it's one thing to say what's the difference between an incomplete and a complete story and to show how Rotten Tomatoes incomplete stories score a lot less than complete stories, it's another thing to fix those incomplete stories and what you can do is you can very quickly throw them into the atomizer into the developed feature and be able to fix the parts that are missing
what I'll be doing next week I'll be showing how you could have easily fixed a film like Wind River, so if you haven't seen it yet. Jeremy Renner and the Olsen twin. It's I think it's the third film the American West Trilogy from the guy that wrote sicario and hell or high water so this is third 1i think he directed it.
it's incomplete. But watch it, and then think of how you would be able to fix it and what I'm going to start doing is showing how you can fix incomplete stories by using the atomizer to quickly identify the parts that are missing
it's not just about showing all the films that work and the complete stories, but it's also how can I take a story that is incomplete that is deficient, and how can I make it better?
Because likely you have an incomplete story that you're working on if you're just coming to this and you're just experiencing dramatic and being able to know okay. Well. How do I go from there? To a complete story the first part is identifying what it is. You're trying to say with your story what you're trying to work through and then get yourself to structure, and that's what I've provided here, and it's something that I can't wait to show you.
Ok so will be ending this quite soon because this is getting really long and part of the abundance is making sure my podcasts aren't two hours long, but it's been two months, and it's the start of a new season, so let's let's catch up on things
as I mentioned before Florida project. That's an analysis that I'll leave a link in the show notes and that's all about. What it's like when you're missing through lines, there was a ripe opportunity for three lines that were in there, and they just missed out them. I don't know if they did it on purpose the way that something like dr. Strangelove did where it's just part of the satire format, and there was a great opportunity for it with the main character and influence character conflict. It never really materialized so. we just sympathize with the little girl because I believe that she was supposed to be the main character so we sympathize with her. We don't really empathize with her because we don't get an insight into what her issues are what's going on there,
The reason why you keep returning to a complete story is because it's giving you some meaning behind. It's actually arguing some kind of message that narrative argument that I was talkin about in the last section this one. Isn't really just kind of documenting. What's going on, which I believe is probably what the purpose of it was but it's not like something like Professor Marston in the Wonder Woman, which again is a historical account of things that actually happen. It's about the guy that invented Wonder Woman in the polyamorous relationships that he was involved in. But it's actually telling a complete story it actually has main character has to influence characters has a relationship story and a really clear Objective Story and. It's something that is soon as you finish it. It's like wow I need to watch that again like I feel like I missed something. I feel like there was something more behind everything that was in there and that that's the experience of watching a complete story.
leave a link to the full analysis in there. I've started doing the through line Thursdays again, which I'm going to do every Thursday. I'm going to make sure I have some new visual representation of what those through lines look like because I believe that's the very best way to learn the different. Arrangements of through lines.
If you remember the four levels of the dramatic table story. The top levels the domain the next one down are the concerns then the issues and then the elements the bottom is most like character the issues are more most like theme the concerns are most like plot in the very top those are like genre, and I found it very interesting and I wanted to make sure I'm marked this down is that Professor Marcin is very much a coming-of-age story.
Now most coming-of-age stories are about teenagers. This is a much older woman who is coming of age. She's coming into her own and she's got a control issue. That's her problem that's where everything's coming from and at the end. She's not uncontrolled. She's free and that gets back that wraps up what I was talkin about about the terms like the free just makes infinitely way more sense.
The typical setup for a coming-of-age drama has the main character in universe and the Objective Story in Psychology most hero's journey action adventure films have the main character in universe and the Objective Story in physics stuff like Kung, Fu Panda Matrix Star Wars. That's the typical setup for those kind of films, or those kind of stories
It Coming of Age story nine times out of 10 has the main character in the universe where they're they're feeling out of place in their universe and they're struggling against some kind of dysfunction, and that's where the Objective Story in Psychology comes from.
Another feature that will be coming to the animator will be of thing where you can actually just select different stories based on genre
what they vertical alignment between the Objective Story and the main character through line. the stories more focus on that character growing into themselves rather than growing out of them cell.
coming of age usually is a very positive experience is very much them growing into something and that Objective Story main character alignment that actually is what makes that happen, so I'll leave links to the Florida project analysis and the professor Marsden in the Wonder Woman analysis, and of course the through line Thursday's the visual analysis of Professor Marston in the show notes.
let's wrap this one up because I think I've said everything it's the year of being exhausted from super long podcasts so the last two things would be this week's article which is about dramatica the journey towards a better understanding story and the unraveling Tangled. Article, I just remember to I did write a whole article about how that developed feature works. I've already written three articles for this year. I'll leave a link to that in the show notes, but that's some more Hands-On, so you can see what it actually looks like.
as far as the article that I just finished this week. I'm very protective of dramatica and not because I feel like my way is the only way but my way is the only way no, there is a power behind it. There's a strength behind knowing how the Theory actually works. It's something that many writers most writers are super uncomfortable with which is getting themselves away from the subjective view of what they think a story form is about and the objective view of it
the very best way. I know to be objective about it besides spending 20 years learning. How it all works together is to work with like-minded people who spent the same amount of time and gone through the same problems and ask the same questions and figured out okay, exactly what all this means.
Bounce off them to see if certain story forms are correct and more often than not you know you'll learn something new and last month's User Group, which was lol and there was an issue with the end where you can listen to the podcast and I go on and of course you know I have 20 years of experience, and I'd saw the that Objective Story is a failure because I thought the dream sequence was an indication of what it should have been if it was a success.
But as Chris pointed out to me later on there's no real change of perspective in that dream sequence and instantly that click to my head. It's like oh of course. There's no real story being told here. There's no argument in that dream sequence. That would preclude or make it a success story outcome, which would make what actually really happened to failure.
just learning that kind of thing it was great if I just sat in my own office and just wrote what I wanted to never had to be challenged on anything and my interpretation is is my interpretation. I'm entitled to it. That's not the whole point of dramatica that. Is the exact Madness that was there before where you had to rely on McKee or said Fielder somebody's subjective interpretation of things as how story works, and then anybody has their own subjective interpretation of how gravity works, and no there's an objective. Reality to narrative and dramatic is the closest thing to it
being able to put your stuff up against other people who study the theory for a long time and challenge that Viewpoint and have it ring out. not only is that great for yourself in your own knowledge in your own education because it forces you to be really clear about what it is. You're trying to say. But it's also great for everybody else who comes after you because they're not going to be confused about things. That's why I'm so protective about the discussion board on dramatic. I can't stand different interpretations of the theory and subjective this is how I see things and I want to try and see the three corners. Not the four corners or whatever kind of weirdness that people bring into it.
to me. It's not about protecting my vision of it. It's protecting it for other people who come to because I want people to have the same opportunity to learn from the theory and to develop their understanding of story so that they can have the same chance to write better stories and to develop their understanding of narrative, so they can be more competent and more effective and what it is that they do their craft in their art, that's what this the article this week addresses.
that ties into the first article that your which was unraveling the story structure of Tangled where the showrunner had come to me with an idea of what it is. He wanted to say. With the story I had a very clear-cut. You know this is the intent behind it this is my controlling idea
I helped him figure out what the story structure of that was and we were able to craft an entire narrative for actually the entire series, which was originally going to be Four Seasons. I think it's only going to be three now and then each season. Has its own story form
the overwhelming response was positive because they felt like they were getting something more they didn't expected. From a children's show and that's because the people that were behind it had an intent to provide something of meaning to give something more to it and part of their ability to do that was different story points adhered to that original intent that original meaning that the artist. Wanted to say
instead of getting caught up in everybody's subjective interpretation of I think it should go to this area, and I think it should go to that area obviously there's brainstorming. There's ways to improve upon the actual story form that's there, but when you have that story form an objective story form that's based on somebody's intent what they're trying to say what they're trying to argue with their story, and then you build off of that. What you do is you avoid The Madness of all these different Minds coming together and creating a schizophrenic product at the end,
if every story is really a single human mind trying to solve a problem in your actually dealing with a mind here when you have all kinds of different subjective interpretations they bring all their own stuff and they project their own. Experience on to the story itself like they project their own experience onto the story they're not actually. Adhering to the original intent behind the peace
that is why I'm so protective. Of dramatica and this kind of objective understanding of what's really going on because I've seen it work. I see the results of it.
that story was figured out three years ago and it's a great baseline from which to create you can still be creative on top of all that but be able to come back and rest on that objectivity and not rely on well. It's just how I see it, and this is how you know this person sees it, and we're just not in agreement, and then that's when. TV series are stories derail into all kinds of Madness, but to have that objective reality I find that extremely important, and I've seen it play out it works
the positive feedback for that show is amazing. It was completely rewarding to see all the tweets all the feedback from it and people just like completely blown away with. How it all worked out and that was because there was a purposeful intent behind it and the theme for this year is abundance, and I want to make sure everybody has that opportunity to have that same experience with their audience and to be able to connect with them that way and to be able to communicate their deepest intent
so if you have any questions about anything as always you can always write to me. And near the first.com slash contact, and above all I wish the very best for you this year and a very abundant year of writing.
Narrative First theme by Alex Hull. Hear more on his Soundcloud, Operation Solace.