Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Six: Problems and Power
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War as a Theme

War provides the ultimate catastrophe. Typical ideas include:


The Hero. Able to win out where others cannot, or to sacrifice themselves where others would not. Heroes existed up to World War 2 but after that, there were few heroes, no war songs, and little glory. This is partly because the wars following WW2 were not world threatening; were reported live, and in general, were not supported by the general public.


The Spy. Wars offer a huge scope for spies. These can vary from the beautiful woman spy through to the cold blooded professional spy.


The Scientist. Saving the world with the secret weapon, or finding a better way to kill people is always a good story. The 'bouncing bomb', 'Midget submarines', the 'Atom bomb', the 'Spy satellites' are good examples, as was being able to crack the enemies' codes with computers.


The Traitor. How many missions have set out only to discover that they have a traitor in their midst? The mission itself, and the detective aspect of discovering the spy double the drama.


The Lover. The person separated from the one they love by war. Alternatively the people who find love in war.


Rites of passage. The boy who grows up quickly by being in a war and forced to face the realities of manhood.


The Coward. The person having to face themselves and others after failing to face up to demanding situations.


The Profiteer. Those that cash in on the chaos and distress of others.


The Helpers. Those that help care for others in chaos and distress.


The Visionaries. Those that see war as a stage towards a new world.


The Politicians. Those whose decisions can win battles or lose lives unnecessarily.


The Victims. Those who suffer and bear the brunt of it. These will be on both sides.


The Observers. These are the neutral sides that play their part in subtle and surreptitious ways.

What war does is heighten the situation so that everything has more urgency, more definition, and more immediate response than it would have otherwise. There is also a dramatic change of values. An aircrew hitting their target with a bomb can get away with a 'thumbs up' and victorious grin, while a terrorist doing the same would be considered mad.

There is also a change in values regarding gender. A WW2 plot would not have a woman fighter pilot, whereas today that would be possible. Space wars stories will commonly have women in these warrior roles.


Write a list of eight people, four who stand to lose by war and four who stand to gain by it.


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