Masters in Story Theory1
What is a story? Why do stories exist?
Your mind is made from narrative. Life events are narrative. Everything you know only has meaning in a narrative context. In this first series of videos, using entertaining examples from stories and film clips, we get to understand linguistics and how stories trigger the mental reflexes we use to make memories.
If you happen to be in advertising or politics you will also learn how stories can be crafted in slightly more insidious ways to plant memories we didn't know we had, too...
You will understand in simple, intuitive terms the overlap between the power in a story and how the mind works.
Masters in Story Theory2
Knowledge Gaps and Subtext
Using clips and short films, we learn the basic substance of story and how to use it. The writer encodes knowledge gaps into the narrative. Gaps in knowledge are an evolutionary alarm signal for risk, so we become engaged and take ownership of the narrative the moment there is a gap to fill. The receiver decodes by providing the knowledge that goes into the gap from their own knowledge and experience.
Did you instinctively create a narrative progression from the static image, below? This is what we do. In small, medium, large and epic. And we do it the time.
Using clips, short films and interactive examples, the light begin to shine on the critical role that narrative plays in how our mind works, and exactly how every story gets its power to make you love it, take ownership and feel gripped.
Masters in Story Theory3
Common Story Dynamics
To make our understanding of the substance of every story clear, we now look at the knowledge gap characteristics of the most common story dynamics. Conflict, Morality, The Major Dramatic Arc, Comedy, Aristotle's Principles and much more. All become clear and usable through clips, examples and interactive exercises.
As you get your head around knowledge gaps and the role they play in these dyanamics, the quality of the story they compose becomes measurably evident. The more gaps there are and the more subtext there is, the higher the public rating of the story.
Masters in Story Theory4
Characters are, of course, central to everything in story. You HAVE to understand character to understand story. This set of videos focusses on motivation, protagonism, antagonism, morality, meaningful conflict, inner and outer arcs, character growth and the six questions you should ask of each of your characters.
We also find out how it is that plot and character... follow me carefully now... are one and the same thing... Once you understand that, your story takes on a whole new dimension.
Character actions are the medium that the writer uses to communicate with the receiver. When you perceive problems in a story, they will almost certainly be in the character area. Understanding all about characters empowers you to make knowledgeable adjustments to the narration that increase the quality and elevate the story.
Masters in Story Theory5
Ultimate Power - The Storification Dynamic
The author frames and orientates the audience, the characters take their actions in real-time in the story world, the receiver interprets a narrative, fills the gaps with subtext and creates meaning in mind through storification.
Storification is the secret. It sounds complicated, but by using childrens' stories, short films and lots of well-known story examples you will fully understand how it works, because you will experience storification in your own mind. From here we start to think about using this ultimate power dynamic to make a story analysis and development process based on genuine knowledge of where the power in any particular story lies.
Note how this differs from traditional story theory. Instead of talking about key questions and turning points and spirit guides, we are recognising that the power of a story lies in what it means to the receiver. The psychology in the conversation between an author and a receiver. That is a story's real powerbase... and you will understand how that power is crafted into place by the events depicted through character behaviours in the narration. NOW you will see where changes can have a positive effect.
Masters in Story Theory6
From Story Seed to Silver Screen
I have worked as a producer on just the one film. I gained an understanding for the work of the producer (and admire you greatly! I'll NEVER be doing that again!). But at least it gave me a fine experience of the business side and an appreciation for what goes on. Follow the documented creation of my film story, Bella, I take you on the full story development process, from the first seed of the idea to the final glorious production. You will see the original idea, the development of the step outline, the final script coming to life. You will gain EXCLUSIVE access to the finished film itself and you will get a FREE book containing the step outline and developers' notes.
I will be doing the same thing for further projects, including writing a novel online and developing a feature film, entitled Mayakin, from first principles to a London Premiere on the silver screen.
The point being, you can see how a story can imrpove and grow over time through knowledgeable changes which have a clear, designed, objective intent in terms of what happens in the mind of the receiver. You can have tht knowledge and elevate a story through changes you will clearly see are of benefit to the final story.
Masters in Story Theory7
Creating Sales Material
One of the interesting things about understanding what is happening under the bonnet when your story runs is that you identify where the power lies and you find yourself adjusting your pitch, bible, deck, production pack, poster, title, trailer etc. to harness that power.
Sure, the 'high concept' and the 'character with a problem who takes action in the face of... blah blah' is all well and good, but truly understanding what it is in the storification that deeply effects the mind of the receiver... now THAT is properly arming you up to deliver a pitch like no other.
People receiving your sales material will 'get it' so much more quickly and effectively if you have selected the right dynamics to communicate that will deliver the true power in the story.
Masters in Story Theory8
We're in This Together
There is, of course, the option of engaging me on your project as a story consultant.
Industry pro's tend to find me rather useful in these critical story areas which are, of course, extremely important but not always considered as part of the mainstream of what, say, a producer or director is supposed to be doing.
You stick to what you are best at, and buddy up with me to provide the story expertise. Together we can be unstoppable!
Give me a call via the Story Consultancy Page, and let's talk about what I can do to help make your project a winner.