So we’ve looked at an overall structure that tends to apply to most movies, but each genre also has its own structure.
Let’s look at some of those...
Thrillers (and many dramas and comedies):We all have two twin impulses: We want our lives to be easier but we also want those who have it easy to be punished. When we go see thrillers, we get to enjoy both impulses: we get to feel the vicariously thrill of watching someone transgress society’s rules and get away with it, for a while, then we get to switch gears and enjoy righteous indignation as we see that same character get punished for the transgression. In the end, we get to get to feel genuine admiration as the character embraces hard work (like we have) and achieves honest success.
- Transgression Enjoyed
- Transgression Punished
- Consequences Accepted
- Honest Success Attempted
Some movies are all about romance, but almost every movie has a romantic subplot in addition to the larger story.
Because romantic feelings are the best and most intense feelings we have, so they make every story better.
If the movie is all-romance, then the following will be the primary structure of the movie, but even if it’s just a subplot, the romance will tend to go something like this:
- Loneliness or dissatisfaction intensifies
- Meet appealing but problematic love interest (connection is established in an “I understand you” moment)
- Win love interest by means of a trick or mask.
- Masked removed, followed by rejection
- Become a better person
- Attempt to win love interest honestly
Tragedies at first seem very different from all of the other structures we’ve looked at. The midpoint, for instance, is actually the moment of greatest success, instead of greatest failure.
The hero never pursues a worthy goal.
The story has an unhappy ending.
it’s really not that different.
As with any other structure, the hero struggles to pursue a goal, that struggle gets harder and harder, and lessons are learned in the end.
This is the structure of every Shakespeare tragedy and many movies, from Citizen Kane
to The Godfather
- Pride causes dissatisfaction
- Ambition is ignited
- Success achieved with allies
- More success achieved by betraying allies
- Empty victory or humiliating defeat
- Realization of folly too late
I know I said that this would be the last one, and it is, but tomorrow, as a weekend bonus, I’ll cut and paste four structure entries together to form one entry, for easy linking…