Dear writers, directors and producers of Dr. Stranger, it has come to viewers’ attention that you were absent from class on the day we covered “The Fundamentals of Storytelling.” Although your actors have been bending over backwards and executing death defying thespian somersaults to breath life into the *___ you have foisted upon them, it is clearly time for an intervention – on their behalf and on behalf of well-meaning viewers everywhere.
Rather than make you reread that chapter in the textbook and submit a book report, let’s try something a little different. First, imagine all the characters that will be in the story you want to tell and then go from there.
- What is each one like? Are they kind, generous, mean, selfish…?
- Do they have any family or friends?
- What do they care about?
- Do they have special powers, or talismans that give them special powers or are they just ordinary?
- Where do they live? Do they travel?
- Why do they make the choices they make and do the things they do?
- Are any of them already familiar to audiences?
Now, don’t be shy about drawing from tradition. In fact, audiences love it when they recognize a character from somewhere else; for them it’s like seeing an old friend again.
Next, you want to find a theme around which to develop your story. Love is always a good one, but you need some kind of bigger picture cause at the foundation to help sustain any craziness you might be inspired to throw at your audience. Just look at Boys Over Flowers: while they used Young Love as their story’s calling card, they made sure to set it on a foundation with considerable gravitas to hold together all the streamers and glitter they threw our way. And it worked! — even when the audience was not really paying attention to the beautifully woven tapestry of deeper issues underlying it’s fluffy narrative.
Once you have brainstormed a little – not a lot, you don’t want to overthink it – just ease into the story and let it unfold. It’s easy. Even a four year-old can do it!
Little Capucha’s Storytime