When studios say “it is about the story!” everyone nods in agreement. But story creation remains a mystery for many in computer animation, VFX, and games because they have not focused on screenwriting. This course covers the universal elements of story: plot, characters, and distinctive narrative structure. It analyzes conflict (internal, external, environmental), turning points, cause and effect, archetypes vs. stereotypes, inciting incidents, and how choice defines character. In also reviews the questions raised in all stories:
What is at stake (survival, safety, love, esteem, etc.)?
What is the motivation (inciting incident) of the main character (protagonist)?
Will that be enough to move the main character from ordinary, comfortable life to a different world (where the action takes place)?
What “changes” are necessary to make the story dramatic?
Introduction, "It's About Story", What is a Dramatic Story?
Story Structure versus Plot Structure (Acts); Setup, Inciting Incident (Survival, Safety, Love etc.), Rising Action/Turning Points, Climax, Resolution. Shorts versus Feature Film structure
Story Elements - Character, Setting, Theme, Goal (What Character Wants), and Conflict (Internal, External, Environmental). Connections Through Cause & Effect
Character Backstory vs. Character Profile, Archetype vs. Stereotype, Point-of-View, What's at Stake?, Character Arc & Change, Choices reveals Character
Audience Expectations: Genres, Types, and Goals, Using Character Gaps, Creating Identification With Characters
Generating Ideas, Developing Story (Pre-Vis & Post-Vis), Character Identification, Summary, Questions and Answers
Everyone, professionals to students, who wants a solid understanding of the fundamentals of story structure for creating animated films, VFX, transmedia, and video games.
University of Utah