storytelling strategies

Storytelling Strategies: ‘Frozen’ Expectations

What do your characters think is going to happen? The most fundamental goal of a storyteller is to create a sense of anticipation in the audience. A related — and vital — task is to create anticipation in the characters. As John Lennon said, “Life is just what happens to you...

Storytelling Strategies: The Lowdown on ‘Gravity’

How does a screenwriter thrill a reader if she doesn’t have special effects at her disposal? In 1840, New York theater audiences were treated to a play called The Earthquake. It featured rattling furniture, falling walls and collapsing flats. It was followed by The Last Days of Pompeii, which added an...

Storytelling Strategies: Ending ‘The World’s End’

By Paul Gulino Making an ending feel satisfying. The script for The World’s End (written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright) is superlative in dialogue and originality, among other strengths, but it stumbles late, and even wanders a bit during the climactic confrontation between the two main characters and the aliens...

Storytelling Strategies: Fruitvale Station vs. Blake Snyder

“You can’t teach writing!” declares Gabe Roth, a character played by Woody Allen in Allen’s 1992 film Husbands and Wives.   We’ve come a long way since 1992; that very same year, Christopher Vogler came out with The Writer’s Journey, which provided twelve stages that a character should endure during the...