Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Six: Problems and Power
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In the case of Cinderella, the stepmother had power over her. But when Cinderella marries the Prince, the stepmother no longer has power over her; and by her position, Cinderella now has power over the stepmother.

With Aladdin, the wicked uncle has power over Aladdin until Aladdin gets the magic lamp. In the Sleeping Beauty, the wicked fairy has power over the princess until the last good fairy comes and negates the wicked fairy's curse.

Getting and losing power; using it well or badly, is something inherent in most stories. These are the things to consider:

  • How does power work?
  • Who has the power at a given time?
  • How do they show their power?
  • How do they exploit their power?
  • Why do others accept their power?
  • How do they lose their power?
  • What are the benefits of power?
  • Who do the powerful associate with?
  • How do they hang on to power?

James Bond has power at several levels:

  • He has the power of authority given to him by the government.
  • He has the power of all the technical gadgets given to him as weapons.
  • He has his own skills in driving, shooting, flying, and the like.
  • He has his personal charm that he exploits for his objectives.

His adversaries usually have power in the form of:

  • Money
  • Information
  • Control of key items relevant to their objectives
  • A private army
  • The ability to take the initiative

It isn't always necessary to have power to use it. If a terrorist says he has planted bombs around a building, and intends to blow them up within an hour if his demands are not met, his power is in the fact that the authorities have to believe it is true, even if it is not.

This is the power of the 'threat'. It comes up at many levels. A parent might threaten a naughty child with punishment unless they behave. A teacher might threaten a bad student with expulsion. A boss might threaten a lazy employee with the sack. At the extreme, one country might threaten another country with war.

The party threatened then has the choice of taking the threat as a warning and complying with it, or challenging the threat to see if it will be carried out; often referred to as 'calling their bluff'.

In the 'Three little Pigs' the Big Bad Wolf threatens "I'll Huff and Puff and blow your house down". In the 'Wizard of Oz' the wicked witch threatens to set fire to the Straw Man. In 'Alice in Wonderland' the Queen of Hearts threatens to cut off everyone's heads.


List three stories where power is used as a threat to make someone do something they don’t want to do.


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