“Story: It’s Not Just for Writers … Anymore” by Caldwell

  • ©Craig Caldwell



Entry Number: 10


    Story: It's Not Just for Writers ... Anymore

Course Organizer(s):



    This course has been designed for technical directors, artists, animators, modelers, programmers, and designers whose work is essential in making “the story” come to life. This information can be particularly useful when communicating with screenwriters, directors, producers, and supervisors. This course answers the question “what is story?” (and you don’t even have to take a course in screenwriting). This course uses numerous clips to demonstrate how story has been used in feature films, animation and VFX.

    The purpose is to take the mystery out of “what is story” for those programmers, artists, and game designers whose work is essential in making Animation, VFX, and Games successful. The attendees will know the basic elements of story, so the next time a producer or director talk about what they want for the story, they will know what specific story benchmarks the producer/director are trying to meet in connecting emotionally with an audience. This course will build from the knowledge that story “is a sequence of events (acts) that builds to a climax….” and then lays out the universal elements of story that make up plot, character development, and narrative structure.

    This course emphasizes story elements in context (i.e. theme, character, setting, conflict etc.) and their relationship to classic story structure (i.e. setup, inciting incident, rising action, climax, resolution etc.). It analyzes conflict (i.e. internal, external, environmental), turning points, cause & effect, archetype vs. stereotypes, inciting incident, and how choice defines character. In all stories there must be questions raised: What is at stake (i.e. survival, safety, love, esteem, etc.)? What is going to motivate (inciting incident) the main character (protagonist)? Will that be enough to move characters from the ordinary (where they are comfortable) to go out into a different world (where the action takes place)?, and How will the character “change”(necessary for all dramatic stories)? These are just a few of the storytelling elements necessary to structure a solid story. This course is for all whose work makes the story come alive but their job isn’t creating the story.  

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