Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Four: Decisions and Problems
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Phenomenological method

Here the problem is isolated for the moment and critically examined without having to think of its background situation. Then put it back and see if it works.
A typical example might be the outbreak of a new disease where the doctors do not know how to cure it but can partially contain it. Scientists put aside issues of curing and look at the disease itself. Try to isolate it and then test it on animals. Once the problem is understood then it is reconsidered in terms of a cure for people.

This storyline might apply to a situation like a large-scale terrorist attack. The authorities are not sure what will happen next, or even who the enemy are, but are reasonably sure of the sort of targets that will be chosen. They can then isolate the targets to start with, and in the mean time try to isolate possible groups the terrorists belong to on the basis of motivation.


Definition: Phenomenological


Teratological method

The problem is considered in terms of extreme cases, then look for something workable between these. In the case of a hi-jacked plane there are two extremes:

  • Give in totally to the hi-jackers demands to save the passengers.
  • Destroy the plane with hi-jackers and passengers.

Somewhere in-between would be to negotiate with he hi-jackers and talk them into surrendering without harm to the passengers or plane. Or even partially meet the demands of the hi-jackers.

Numerous stories have been built on the theme of trying alternatives in critical situations.

This approach to a problem can come up in many guises. A man who loves a woman but she loves someone else, might compromise by staying friends with her. An ambitious person might want a particular job, and have the choice of giving up everything else to get it, or abandoning the idea of getting it at all. A compromise might be to take a lesser position for the time being and see if the chance becomes available at a later date.

In Beauty and the Beast, Beauty agreed to see the Beast as a condition of him not pursuing her father for debts. It happened that she fell in love with him, so it was a good compromise.


Definition: Teratological

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