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

The most common game is 'Good against Evil', with both sides being about equal so that the outcome is not predictable. In a story there might be a strong analogy to games as in David and Goliath, Popeye and Bluto, Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, James Bond and various enemies. In these stories one character is pitted against the other. It is a game in every sense with each side winning and losing until the final battle and the ultimate winner. There are usually some rules that are understood, so that we know when they are being broken.

A game can also be between mountaineer and mountain, or a sailor and the sea. Anyone using their skills to 'fight' the elements is playing a game. In another sense, a person can 'beat' an illness or accident. It is a sense of pitting yourself against something that would otherwise 'beat' you.

Love stories can also be games. If two men are both trying to win the affections of one girl, then they play a game of trying to beat each other, while at the same time trying to 'win' her love.

A person can also play a game with himself or herself. Imagine someone who is outwardly a heroic figure, but secretly a villain. They will try to balance this conflict of attitudes within themselves, and often do so at great cost. Like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, one of the personalities will eventually win out.


Stories as moral tales

Most fairy stories, fables, and folktales are moral tales. They warn the audience of right and wrong, and present the values of the times. Typically Love, Truth, Beauty, and Power were the rewards of doing the right thing.

We know intuitively that love, truth, beauty and power are valuable, and much of our life is spent seeking these attributes, but why are they important? Our most basic need is survival, and to survive we need the love and respect of others who will care for us when we need help. Truth is knowledge, and that enables us to survive better. Beauty is an attribute that makes people want to take care of us. And power is having resources to survive.

Someone who is unloved, ignorant, ugly, and powerless, has little chance of survival, so such people will often have the choice of not surviving, or doing so at someone else's expense; they are the villains. Here are a few:


Snow White's wicked stepmother is jealous of Snow White being more beautiful because it undermines her position of being 'The most beautiful of all', which in turn, threatens her survival.


The wicked fairy that cursed The Sleeping Beauty did so because she had not been invited to the christening. She felt unloved, and took her revenge for not getting the respect she felt she deserved.


Rumplestiltskin wanted a child, but had no wife. Having children is a form of survival. He agreed to spin gold from straw for the princess in exchange for her child.


The Beast in 'Beauty and the Beast' had been made ugly by a witch he had insulted. By making him ugly she had denied him an attribute that would have enabled him to get a wife, and children, both of which would have helped his survival. He was lucky to find a lady who ignored his ugliness. But bearing in mind he was also rich; she had her own survival in mind as well.


Write out how the actions of the following people helped them survive:

Cinderella - The wolf in Red Riding Hood - Aladdin - Pinocchio

Also write out what the moral is for each of these stories.


Though fairy tales extol the virtues of love, truth, beauty, and power, we know that in real life people who are above average of being beautiful, knowledgeable, powerful, and loved by many, are not always the happiest. So though people may seek these attributes, ultimately they are seeking happiness, and that may well come in ways that are not easily defined.

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