How to make a story interesting

During the presentation from the BBC they mentioned using ‘The Heroes Journey’

Image Reference 

Since our audio is only 27 seconds long we do not have alot of time to tell a good story based on the Heroes journey. We are able to pause the audio slightly as long as it sounds natural, but we are unable to add words or take them away.

I did some research into what exactly makes a good story, written or filmed. I read different articles and took some as reference that I believed would be relevant to our animation. I feel like with such a short time we need to get straight to the point, no time for explanation but still clear. We can use the environment, the clothing and the background people to help give information to the viewer without actually voicing it. I think it should be fast based but keep the audience intrigued in some way. Even though there is audio I think we can make the actions of the character relate to the words.

Tell a Story

You should always try to tell a compelling story. Beware of ideas that are concept-driven or just aim at breaking all the rules for the sake of breaking rules. Short films are a great opportunity to push the boundaries of what cinematic storytelling can do, yet they must still engage your audience emotionally. As a rule of thumb, unless it is extremely brief a short film should have a hero with a goal and an obstacle/antagonist in the way. Watch I love Sarah Jane. It shows a bunch of teenagers in a ghost town where adults have turned into zombies, yet at the core it is a love story about a young boy who can’t reach through to the older girl he loves.

Waiting gives us direction.

It’s the simplest trick in the world, but it’s wonderfully satisfying to see. Giving us something to anticipate makes us feel that the story has direction and purpose. Begin the story not waking up on an ordinary day, but in the car on the way to the fair. Have your characters go somewhere, and tell us where they are headed. Then throw complications and roadblocks into the mix. As long as we have that direction, we’re happy.

Add anticipation to your story.

As you can see, anticipation is not too tough to add to a story, but it can immensely improve it. Try beginning your scenes with some sort of direction, or give your whole story an overall direction. Your characters are headed somewhere, either literally or metaphorically. Make us want them to get there. The other events are merely road signs on the way to something bigger.

Reference  [Accessed 11th Nov. 2016]

Choose a Point of View

Point of view is the narration of the story from the perspective of first, second, or third person. As a writer, you need to determine who is going to tell the story and how much information is available for the narrator to reveal in the short story. The narrator can be directly involved in the action subjectively, or the narrator might only report the action objectively.

This is the turning point of the story–the most exciting or dramatic moment.

“The crisis may be a recognition, a decision, or a resolution. The character understands what hasn’t been seen before, or realizes what must be done, or finally decides to do it. It’s when the worm turns. Timing is crucial. If the crisis occurs too early, readers will expect still another turning point. If it occurs too late, readers will get impatient–the character will seem rather thick.”-Jerome Stern

Engage the Reader

Since you have so little time to make an impression the impact of page one is crucial, just as it is crucial to hook the reader in the first 10 pages of a feature length script. What is the world of the film? Do we root for the main character? Does the world and story of the film feel authentic? The ending is also essential as it’s rare to truly feel moved at the end of a short, so work towards a meaningful, satisfying ending.

Beware of Cliches

There are many clichés in short films, and much navel gazing. How come everybody feels the need to write about hit men for hire, heists, people seeing themselves die, children representing innocence, incestuous relationships, etc? Avoid stereotypes unless you have a fresh slant on them. That’s what The Descendent does. In this short film a couple of bewildered hit men actually have to kill a seemingly cute little boy and one of them gets cold feet until he realizes that the child is a supernatural being who terrifies his mother. Write what you’re familiar with and what resonates with you rather than writing something you borrowed from other films. Don’t shy away from small stories, short formats are the perfect vehicle for them and you won’t often get the opportunity to tell small stories as a professional writer.

Reference  [Accessed 11th Nov. 2016]

BBC Top tips on making a story in one minute

1. Don’t try and cram too much into your 60 seconds!

2. Be careful of making a genre film.

3. Three-act Structure. Sounds scary. It isn’t. What this means is give your story a beginning, middle, and end. Easy. 

4. Use what’s around you. Work in an office? Set your story in the office (but ask the boss first!). 

5. You don’t have to tell a story. A well constructed sequence of images can make for a fascinating film. 

Reference  [Accessed 11th Nov. 2016]


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