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If you don’t like structure, don’t build buildings or tell stories.

If someone ever says, “that concept is so good, it will write itself” - step on their toe for me, please.

Without a strong structure and a convincing resolution, your story won’t stand up.

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In a world of seemingly bottomless creative content... make sure you keep reading, watching, and listening to the truly masterful storytellers and artists - not just what's new on HBO.⠀

Don’t BAIT and SWITCH on the premise of a story. If you promise to wrestle with real issues (eg: racial reconciliation in Green Book) and then skirt the tough bits to arrive at an easy resolution - you've cheated as a storyteller. (But you still won the Oscar!)⠀

'Stories are the communal currency of humanity' - Arabian Nights

 
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This is one of those things that seems cute until you start to put it to use, then you realize just how incredibly robust a tool this is for looking at hero character arcs.⠀

Schecter's paradigm: ACT I (The hero is ORPHAN or outsider). ACT IIa (the hero WANDERS looking for answers). ACT IIb (hero becomes WARRIOR for a cause) ... ACT III (they risk MARTYRDOM).

Go watch some films with this in mind, and reply here.

 
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This is one of the most litigated questions among writers due, I think, to a fear of being called out as preachy or pedantic. But we look to stories because they contain something meaningful enough to be worthy of our attention. Consider that even Seinfeld - 'the show about nothing' - was very clearly about something.⠀

An example of a LESSON from famous stories… Star Wars Ep4: Quiet your mind and listen to the wise voice inside you (even if it tells you to turn off your targeting computer).⠀

The story's LESSON isn't always something a character says out loud at the end, it's the more like the key insight that the audience takes away. Other than the smashing special effects we've all come to expect, the meaningfulness of the lesson is ultimately what makes any story worth paying attention to.⠀

'Art is the lie that tells the truth' - Picasso

 
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I've been asked a few times recently to post some of the lesson content from talks I’ve given on storytelling for all kinds of creative content.

So here are some snack-sized story lessons (as well as some of my illustrations).

Aaron

Creative Director

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