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GunnarB
03-08-2012, 12:29 AM
Hello, we are students who want to make an animation movie as a design project in the next semester. At the moment we are trying to figure out how to tell a good story. We already had some ideas but our problem is, that we don't know how to form a story that really delivers a good and meaningful message. The stories that we developed till now, were always missing a good ending or a turning point. Thus we are just two people we want to make a funny but really short film (about 2-3 min).

Do you perhaps have some tips for us? Are there perhaps some advices that can help us with this? And how do you get inspiration for a story?

Thanks for help!

Lunatique
03-12-2012, 05:40 AM
You need to have some kind of a theme/motif. For example, the theme could be friendship. Or maybe loyalty? How about betrayal? Corruption? Forgiveness?

You also need to have a compelling conflict, such as man vs. nature, or man vs. man, or man vs. fate, or man vs. machine, or man vs. himself, and so on.

You need to have a dramatic structure--the setup for the premise/narrative, the introduction of the conflict, the resolution to the conflict, aftermath, and so on.

Your ending has to compelling too. An ideal ending often is unexpected, logical, yet inevitable.

You also need to have character development/arc. For example, is your character going to be changed by the events in the story? Does your character remain steadfast regardless of what happens? Is this story about growing and changing, or is it about tenacity/will?

Pacing is also important--how you arrange the quiet moments vs. the busy moments, the timing/beat of each scene/shot, and so on.

The use of irony is often a very good storytelling device--especially for the conclusion of the story.

These are just some basic storytelling techniques/guidelines to think about. If you googled "storytelling techniques," you'll find even more.

(BTW, we used to have a sub-forum for storytelling/screenwriting, but not enough people used it so we closed it.)

Leon-the-Professional
03-12-2012, 09:27 PM
All points Lunatique mentiont are right and will help you most,


I also recommend:
to set the ending together before/while you work on the rest. As a result your storie will become more linear.

Set changing points, sudden changes, key moments, which lead to other Situations.
When a scene isnīt needed to tell the storie, or donīt give any necessary informations, cancle it.
As a result the viewer can follow the storie without getting confused.

Archetypes are allowed(): your viewers will get more information about the characters, if they are simular to a pattern they allready know, then you could possibly tell in an hour(but try not to to be to strict with the archetypes)
Also it can shock the viewer if an archetype character does something the viewer never would have imagende from him -->Plot changes

The Ending should be a highlight,
there are many ways to end a storie:
Leave your viewers with a smile
Make them think

The last and most important tip: Give all you can and do this projekt with a lot of love, maybe your viewers will feal the love in every scene.

GunnarB
03-13-2012, 02:20 PM
Thank you very much for your responses! They helped us really much to get a better understanding on how to structure a good story and what we have to keep in mind.

The last days we had some meetings to form the story. We think it's really the most important point of the work, because if you have a good story and some quite interesting characters you could even make a good animation movie just with cube- and sphere-shapes.

We made some mind-maps and had some funny (at least we thought so ;D) characters and situations, for example, a redneck framer who is going with his favourite, but very fat cow (named Bertha) which is a small trailer behind his tractor to the beach, where he is taking out a roll soil and a fence to put his cow inside. The theme could be friendship. But then, we have the problem again: Where is the main-conflict?! And that’s the point where we have our biggest problems.

How do you develop a funny conflict? If we take for example the situation with the farmer and his cow, what would you advise us, to figure out a conflict? Or should we first develop a conflict, as a skeleton for the situation and the characters, to build on?

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