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

This is where the form of the problem is taken into consideration. Imagine there is a lot of crime on a housing estate. From one viewpoint catching the criminals would solve the problem, but it might be that the location or conditions of the housing estate are a contributing factor. Another approach to the problem might be improving the conditions of the housing estate so that crime is less likely to happen.

To cut down on speeding, the police use radar guns, speed cameras, and put bumps in the road. All are conceptually difference approaches to the same problem of forcing the motorists to slow down, but each works in its own way.

One way of defeating criminals is to catch them, but other ways include freezing their assets gained by crime, or spying on them so that their activities can be stopped in time.

It is a common storyline where one person can save a situation with few resources, when many skilled and equipped people cannot. The problem is solved by looking at it from an different viewpoint.

Snow White's stepmother used the method of disguising herself as an old woman selling apples to trick Snow White into eating the poisoned fruit. Yet as a Queen, she could have sent the army in to find her.

This technique is very useful in stories where the character comes up against a seemingly unsolvable problem, and then resolves it in an unlikely way.


Definition: Morphological



In this method any idea, however wild or far out, is considered. This approach comes up in comedies. In Tom and Jerry films both will go to ridiculous lengths to beat the other, creating highly improbable machines and situations. Imagine you had to write the scripts for these films, how would you go about it? A brainstorming approach will come up with lots of crazy ideas that have to be thought through rather than dismissed.

Brainstorming is used when every other obvious or reasonable idea has been thought about and dismissed. Scientists might use it when none of their theories fit an observed situation. Criminals might use it to escape from an 'escape-proof' prison like an island. It is a common theme for terrorists planning an attack that is unlikely to be anticipated.

In fairy stories, it is the impossible situation that requires the use of magic. Today, much of the interest in adventure stories is to come up with a plausible but unlikely solution to difficult problems.

James Bond stories have had him visibly killed; yet he remains alive creating an implausible situation that fools the enemy. The 'Mission Impossible' TV series uses brainstorming ideas as a basis for the episodes.


You have been taken hostage by a criminal, and locked in a room with the windows boarded up. Use brainstorming methods to suggest some way of getting out of the room using just the sort of items found in a living room.


Definition: Brainstorming

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