If you have taken my Plot and Structure Workshop before, or if you are interested in exploring plotting and structuring stories at a new depth, then I have designed an Advanced Plot and Structure Workshop looking at different, more complex ways of understanding stories. This workshop shows you how to apply these advanced ideas about plot and character to structuring your own work. Writers, directors, producers and story executives are all welcome.
Previously we looked at how screen stories fall into sequences and how to see where they fall, and then how to sharpen each sequence so the story plays as well as it can. But what about stories that don’t move forward smoothly? What about stories that are non-traditional?
And how about stories that originate outside the Western tradition we know? That pay no attention to the structural principles we understand? What can we learn to help us explore those stories? What can we learn from non-European or American stories that we can usefully apply to our work?
There are other questions too. What effect on the structure and plotting of your story does the gender of the protagonist have? Because if character and plot are different ways of looking at the same thing, then surely if you change the nature of the character, you must change the nature of the plot? If we have more stories featuring, made and aimed at women, what new things might we have to understand about plotting female characters?
And how does the form shape the plotting and characterization? Is it true that cinema protagonists work best if solitary whilst TV drama series protagonists work best in partnerships or groups? Is it true that in commercial movies the plot is what drives the story whereas in TV series drama it is the characters that drive the story? And how does this effect the way we approach writing and developing these different kinds of story?
The advanced Plot and Structure workshop will take your ability to analyze and understand the underlying structures of screen stories to a new level, giving you a new set of tools to apply in your everyday work.
- Recap: the principles of plot sequences and the relationship to character.
Special sequences, exploring more deeply:
- The opening sequence: unfolding your story
- The Antagonist’s sequence: organizing the forces of opposition
- The closing sequence: structuring the audience’s cathartic moment
- Problem stories: sequences in stories which jump through time
- Time Bandits
- Toto Le Hero
Sequences in stories where narrative is superior to plot and character
- Andrei Tarkovsky – Stalker
- Sally Potter – Orlando
- Typical sequences for female characters
- Is there such a thing as female narrative?
- Differentiating between empowering female characters and using new narrative and structural shapes
- The single hero problem
- Are female characters inherently different from male ones: do characters have gender?
- Are there “female sequences”? What might they look like?
Sequences and TV drama series:
- The primacy of the character questions
- Dangers of character sequences
- Managing change
- Character groups
- Multiple short sequences
- Three sequence openings
- No-plot sequences
- Thematic sequences
As usual courses will be accompanied by extensive notes on all areas covered, including all slides shown over the two days.