Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Five: Relationships and Communication
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Basic Relationships

There are two basic relationships:


Peer to peer


Adult to child

We take on each of the roles of child, peer, and adult in different situations. Let's imagine a couple going out together.

He says: "I've booked seats at the theatre and a table at the restaurant for after the show."

She says: "Oh that's great. I will love it."

He has taken the adult role and she the child role.

They go to the theatre. When they come out they discuss it equally. They now have a peer-to-peer relationship. They go home.

She says: "Sit down and make yourself comfortable while I make some tea."

She has now become the adult and he the child.

We change our roles and relationships all the time. Sometimes it is choice and other times it is forced upon us. In a crisis we may have to take on the adult (responsible) role when otherwise we would expect someone else to do this.


What roles do the following characters take in their stories?

Popeye - Red Riding Hood - Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Humpty Dumpty - Batman and Robin
The Mad Hatter and the Dormouse - Tom and Jerry


In war, everyone has a rank, and it is clear who is in charge. But take a situation where the person in charge is killed or wounded, or even breaks down and cannot take command; then someone else might take the initiative. The person who does this might not be highest ranking, or even the best person available, they might be the only person in a situation to do anything useful. Such a person would have moved from the 'child' role of taking orders to the 'adult' role of giving orders. The situation would have come about naturally by circumstances.

In real life this is common. Here are a few such situations:

  • A wild young woman becomes a single mother and has to take care of her child.
  • A young playboy inherits the family business, and has to learn to run it.
  • A widowed mother cannot properly care for her children, who have to become self-sufficient.
  • The Office manager is suddenly taken ill, and the secretary has to take over his role using her own initiative.

The elderly, the ill, the uneducated, and the poor are typical of those dependent on others, and so live much of their life in the 'child' role. But it could also include the rich who have been brought up to depend on servants. In the case of Cinderella we could imagine the stepmother and ugly sisters not knowing how to cook, clean, and care for themselves. If they lost their wealth, then Cinderella might reverse the role of being the child, and take command of the situation.

An interesting storyline is to create a situation where there is role-reversal. It commonly happens when events take place faster than people can adapt to them. The new situation will favour some and disadvantage others. A new hierarchy then emerges.


Here are some situations where the natural order of command is changed. Suggest how those changes might take place.

- A passenger plane crashes in the jungle. On board are low class natives from the jungle, while the others are wealthy landowners.

- A yacht is crippled in a storm, and has to beach on an uninhabited island. The passengers are businessmen, while the crew are just low paid sailors.

- A bus crossing a wild uninhabited region breaks down. The passengers are varied in skills and class.


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