Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Two: Why Do People Do What They Do?
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Stories as thresholds

Everyone has limitations, but they are not always what they seem to be. One limitation is what one can actually do. Another is what one thinks one can do. Many stories are about people who are unaware of what they can do, and suddenly find circumstances create opportunities to do things they would not normally attempt. There are people who have barriers of fear, shyness, ignorance, social taboos, conscience, respectability, responsibility, physical, mental, social pressures, competition, skill, etc. Overcoming these personal barriers is often part of a story. A crisis may well bring out capabilities we never knew we had.


What barriers did the Tin Man, Straw Man, and Lion have in the Wizard of Oz?

Think of two other stories where characters have had to overcome their personal fears to achieve objectives.


Stories as morals

Fairy tales and the like are moral stories. They show what is right and wrong for the times. The objectives are well defined and the characters are usually clear-cut. Every story is a moral story at some level showing the rewards of good behaviour and the punishment for bad behaviour.


Name three stories with clear-cut morals to them.


Stories as puzzles

The 'Puzzle' theme comes up in many storylines. Here are a few:

  • Detective stories where the criminal has to be traced by clues.
  • Adventure stories where the objective is to discover a place or person.
  • Science stories where scientists are trying to unravel a problem.
  • A person looking for a loved one.
  • Survival situation working out how to live with limited resources and coming up with unusual answers.

List three stories that have puzzles central to their theme.

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