Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Process Blitz-Story Goals

May I introduce "Spectacle", the short story concept I'll be developing during the Process Blitz. Any comments or critiques are welcome.

1-Theme in 3 words:
Prejudice, Wonder, Friendship
2-Synopsis in 1 sentence: An eager boy, although blinded by others prejudices, finds an unexpected friend in a traveling circus.
Synopsis in 3 sentences: Curious boys await the arrival of circus oddities. A frenzy of fear and prejuduce leaves one boy blind to the dazzling show. A peculiar friend help the boy see clearer than ever.
Synopsis in 3 paragraphs: When a circus poster appears in a 1880's town, curiosity runs wild in the imagination of 4 young boys. Each conjures up a fearsome and fabulous spectacle. Fables and fabrications about the circus beasts feed the curiosity of one boy and plant seeds of prejudices in the other boys. Interest circles around Jumbo, a bizarre mammoth creature that Barnum & Bailey are debuting. A twisted curiosity draws the boys to the show.

At the show the boys both jeer and cheer extraordinary feats, modern technologies. As Jumbo is announced reactions ripple through the crowd, in the commotion one of the boy's glasses falls into the performing ring. The boy is left blind as Jumbo emerges to a mixed chorus of cheers, screams, jeers, and applause.

Straining to see and trying to gauge the crowd, the boy is frozen with fear when a trumpeting blast sounds next to him. Apprehension settles when the glasses are delivered in the trunk of an elephant. The boy sees past the odd exterior to the gentle giant's heart. He utters his amazement and embraces the trunk. End

3-Primary Characters: Boy, Jumbo, Friends (representing Fear, Ignorance, & Disgust). Secondary Character: Ringmaster
4-Character Map:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Process Blitz:Story

Aloha & welcome to The Process Blitz where I'll be tackling a short story from concept to content in 30 days. I'll be sharing my own goals, process, resources, and insights for preparing material that is "pitch ready" for a animated short film/picture book.

Establishing appropriate material for short story formats where brevity and clarity are vital is real work. Each word & second is valuable; every moment should further the theme and progress the narrative. The primary rule is K.I.S.S. or Keep it simple stupid! Some ideas are not suited to become short stories; Lord of the Rings for example, with its weaving multi-character plots and world spanning travels could never be crammed into a 32pg picture book or a 5 minute movie.

A good short story must have 1 or 2 central characters that the audience relates to, a problem, and a solution that tells us more about the central character(s). The problem and it's solution help make up the story's theme or central message. All other characters, settings, and events should support the theme and enhance the telling of the story.

Eliminating other issues helps clarify the theme and focus a viewer's attention to the important. This means that many great ideas will end-up on the chopping block; it's OK. Those unused ideas may be seeds for other wonderful projects.

The following goals will help refine the direction of a story and create a solid framework for the rest of the development.

Timeline (3 days)

1-Establish the theme in 3 words (adjectives, emotions)
2-Synopsis of plot in 1 sentence, 3 sentences, 3 paragraphs (subject, problem, soution. Consider visually based actions that support theme)
3-Establish principle characters (If more than 5, consider simplifying)
4-Develop character map (motives & relationships, obstacles & solutions)

Resources for writing short films or picture books (please send me your favorites as well):
(Index card method) (Writing a scene) (How I Write Series: Jessica Bendinger)
(Picture Book Writing Tips)
(Writing for Children's Books) (plotting for children's books)
Writing for Cartoons Series (Dialogue 1& 2)

The Purple Crayon (picture book writing resources)


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