image
image
image
image
image

Story Structure

5-Point Story Plan


We have created a 5-point structure we use with groups who have not made a film before. This 5-Point Story Plan supports you identify and structure the key points of your film story.

1. Intro – who, what, where, when

2. Hook – why, what’s at stake?
3. Journey – what happens?

4. Transformation – what has changed?

5. Message – what will your audience say?
Links
Downloads



Watch video demos by clicking on the links below:
Chris discusses their 5-point story for Ngarrindjeri Ruwe – Working On Country


Owen discusses their 5-point story for Ngarrindjeri Ruwe – Working On Country



Johanis demonstrates basic storytelling conventions for film.

1. Intro – who, what, where, when
?

Most films, including documentaries, follow a dramatic arch: beginning, middle and end.
With your team, it often helps to discuss the structure of some of your favourite films and documentaries to identify typical story formats.
 Ideally, watch films that have similar themes to the one you want to make – we all learn from each other, so copy from the best…
These are our essential story building blocks – by no means the one-and-all, but we have found them in most stories:

imageimage


1. Set the scene in your introduction as fast and clearly as possible.


• Who is it about, introduce your main character, host.


• What is your theme, tell your audience what this is about.


• When – are we in present day, in a past event, or are we talking about future threats / possibilities.


• Where is your story set? the country, city – the environment is a key character in most films.

imageimage

2. Hook – why, what’s at stake?

Why should we come on the journey?
 Can you explain what’s at stake? This is what compels the audience to continue watching or gets them trigger happy with their remote controls or keyboards.

3. Journey – what happens?

In the middle part of your film you may follow the action and turning points as more challenges are presented.
 These are a few hints:


• Facing the challenges


• Presenting possible solutions


• Assessing results


• Trying again…


imageimage

4. Transformation – what has changed?


Identify your turning point: something happens that changes your theme, your main subject – this can be a discovery, a new piece of information that challenges the initial assumptions presented at the start…or somebody shares the emotional impact the issue has on them.

image

5. Message – what will your audience say?

End: The resolution; is it possible to resolve, what do we feel or learn from this?
 What is the main point you want the audience to walk away with after watching your film?
 Do you need an end resolution – or not? What do we feel or learn?

Links

Find other useful web resources here:


Wikipedia’s understanding of the Act Structure, a system of understanding story structure that is ages old.
Wikipedias understanding of dramatic structure, and references to various different philosophies on said structure.

Story structure as a key to success and industry misconceptions, listed by John Truby.
Wikipedias definition of Ars Poetica, or ‘the art of poetry’. Lists various philosophers who popularised this view of story.
Alexander Sokoloff’s method of understanding story structure. A very visceral and practical method aimed at understanding story structure purposed specifically for you and your style of films.

Michael Hauge’s website, a prominent screenwriting expert.

Downloads

5-point story structure pitch

 

Pre-production

Overview

‘Pre-Production’ is where you start to devise some more of the specifics about your project. No longer in the world of amorphous maybes, or will we/won’t we type discussions, pre-production is your chance to start planning and getting your ideas down on paper.

imageimageimage

In this section we look at research and development, different styles of shoots, how to write and create your story and how to organise a production day and manage risks.

Projects

Hide and Seek
Nation To Nation - Aboriginal Regional Authorities SA
Pinnaroo Surfer Series - My Watering Hole
A Life Well Lived - Trailer
Culture Shock
10x14 Bricks - Anger
Pinnaroo Heist
The Perfect Refugee - The Ad Agency
RAA - All Consuming Art
Whats Yours is Mine...d
We Are Water People
Josh Burns
The Big Find
Cup Man
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Virtual Tour
Renmark - Tree Change
Ngarrindjeri Elder Tom Trevorrow
Meningie Foreshore Restoration
The Perfect Refugee - Cure Hunters
Pom Fiction - Ozzie Dangers
Pinnaroo Surfer Series - The Fish Whisperer
Hoops and Dribbles
10x14 Bricks - Choices
What Privilege - the Colony
when does the light turn on?
Nukkan Kungun Yunnan - Trailer
Recording Culture
Don't Be That Guy - Behind the Scenes
Putting Out Fires
9 Steps to Become a Successful Underage Drinker
Pinnaroo Surfer Series - Camping's the best
Wurramooka News

Watch All Films