Movies are stories. They are journeys. They are about an individual or group of individuals – usually led by one person — going through a unique experience.
Every story has a Main Character. That person has an objective that he or she pursues throughout the story. The basic story question that each tale poses is: Will the main character achieve his or her objective?
Every story also has a Spine. The spine is the motivating force behind the Main Character’s want. That force is usually what the Main Character needs or wants on an internal, emotional level. This desire is what propels the Main Character forward — whether that character is aware of it or not.
Every story has a Plot. A plot is a beginning, middle and end in which a Main Character wants something, encounters obstacles trying to purse his or her objective and then either does or does not achieve that objective.
Every story has an Antagonist who wants to prevent the Main Character from achieving his or her goal. The Antagonist’s main goal should not be to stop the Main Character. The Antagonist should have a goal of his or her own; but the Antagonist must thwart the Main Character in order to achieve what the Antagonist wants.
To tell a story, you must be able to answer these questions. Each with a simple sentence or two.
1) Who is your Main Character?
2) What does that person want?
3) What does he or she do to try and fill that need?
4) Who is your Antagonist?
5) What does that person want?
6) What does he or she do to try and fill that need?
7) What does the Main Character do when faced with the obstacles created by the
8) What is the inevitable final confrontation between the Main Character and the
Antagonist that the Main Character must face?
9) What is the answer to the question posed at the beginning of the story: Will the Main
Character get what he or she wants?
10) What does the Main Character learn from this experience?