Few Universal Steps to Write a Good Story for a Movie

Writing a story for a Movie can be tricky unless you are working in the right direction. There are certain universal steps you need to follow in order to draft a good story.

Here are few things I learned from Austin Madison, who is an Animator and story artist at Pixar that will help you shape a good story.

Steps to Write a Good Story for a Movie

1. Once Upon a Time or Once There Was A…

I guess we all have heard about this phrase, mostly by our moms at home and teachers at school – ‘Once Upon a Time…’ or ‘Once There Was A’. This part is usually the beginning of a story where you can talk about your character and his/her present situation. For example, If we talk about the Star Trek Movie, ‘Once Upon a Time, there was a Farm Boy, who wants to be a Pilot‘.

This small example is enough for you to understand the broad diversity and importance of incorporating this step for writing a good story.

2. Daily Activity…

In this step, we talk about the daily activities and task performed by our character. Once more, if we take the example of Star Trek, starting from the beginning – ‘Once upon a Time, there was a Farm Boy who wants to be a pilot, USED TO WORK or HELP AT FARM’.

3. Until Then…

Now, this can be a game changing part for any story. Every movie leads to a climax and the climax is decided on the basis of UNTIL THEN…

‘Once Upon a time, there was a farm boy who wanted to be a pilot, used to work or help at a farm. Until one day, his parents were killed’.

4. Because of That…

This part of a story is the beginning of the climax where all the actions take place. There can be a number of ‘Because of that’ in any movie. All parts of the story which comes in between Until Then and the Climax can be categorized under Because of That.

‘Once Upon a time, there was a farm boy who wants to be a pilot, used to work or help at a farm. Until one day, his parents were killed. So, he decides to join the Starfleet’.

5. Crisis

The Crisis comes just before the Climax and  is that part of a story where the leading character or a group is under an extreme situation of loosing. This does not apply to each and every movie, but is equally important if you are writing some sort of action stuff.

6. Climax

The climax is the overall result of any story. The part which we all wait for. Whether our hero will win or lose.

‘Once Upon a time, there was a farm boy who wants to be a pilot, used to work or help at a farm. Until one day, his parents were killed. So, he decides to join the Starfleet….(Because of that…Because of that…) finally he becomes a Pilot and kill all his enemies’.

Intensity Versus Time Graph

The Intensity of any movie is always greater during the Crisis and the Climax.

If you take a look at the Intensity versus Time graph for a movie, you will notice that the value of Intensity is always greater at Crisis and the Climax part.

Intensity Versus Time Graph for movie
Intensity Versus Time Graph

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