Sunday, 3 November 2013

Storytelling MOOC Week 2


We also looked at daily soaps as an example of "serial storytelling" on TV. What is the point of knowing all these categories? As viewers or readers we categorise stories as we see them. So, in order to follow or break a rule you need to know the familiar formats.

The success of American series can be ascribed to finance, cultural hegemony, but also writers. They have prolific, creative, well taught writers. This quality goes all the way back to the "writers rooms" of Woody Allen's days.
What is important in successful story telling? 
1.) Emotional connection with the characters, 
2.) Audience want to lean into the screen, 
3.) Getting people's attention, 
4.) You are writing for your audience, not for yourself, 
5.) Sometimes creative process is give & take and teamwork

There are some great links in all the forums so far. Links to advice, techniques. methods from famous writers to organisations to individuals. But does anyone else feel a little overwhelmed at all the advice? Or has any of the advice really helped you? My little challenge to everyone is to try and flip this on its head and try this exercise. Imagine you had created the story of your dreams and everyone was asking you how you did it - what would your own advice be?

Mine would be that:
1. I took time to actually write on a regular basis. Only then did bad ideas get filtered out and good ideas come out of the blue
2. I got other people involved. An animator, an illustrator. Quality work came from interaction and ideas bouncing off other people
3. I took walks and made a point of noting things down every time I was out. These tiny things eventually led to much larger characters and story ideas
4. My final product was completely different to my original idea - it went through many, many stages

This was my own creative challenge of the week. Now to the one set on the course: "Please pick any existing serial protagonist that you know very well, and create a character profile. This is helpful because…
a) …you can compare this profile to that of other protagonists.
b) …you can learn how serial characters are built and why some characters work better than others."

I chose Yosser Hughes from Boys From the Blackstuff. He is the most memorable character from a TV serial I deeply love. He was probably not the best character for this assignment though, but it was good to think about the whole character, why the writers created him, and what purpose did he serve, or how did he set the other characters off. The checklist below is also quite useful when thinking about coming up with your own characters. I wonder if writers get the character first, and fit the story round them? Or whether they have the story first then flesh out the characters that the story needs? I posted this question on one of the forums, but I get the feeling it will be drowned out by the noise. How can MOOC's address this? Or is it the students' responsibility to not mass post and exercise some discretion?