Posts from 2016-05-23

Story, Plot and Propaganda

I have been working on some of the undelrying basic concepts of what is required by the script. Two of the fundemental concepts are Story and Plot, which are actually different things entirely.

Story is the underlying message that the script is trying to portray - exactly the same Love story for example, as typifed by say Casablanca, could have a totally different series of events and yet still have exactly the same underying story. It is this series of events that we normally call Plot - they can be very different, and is usually what most people 'see' in a movie, gradually watching events unfold from begining to end.

Plot is obvious. Story can be equally obvious, or extremely subtle. The idea of watching a film many times and 'seeing something new' each time may be visual, but it can also mean that you are getting closer to the underling story.

The third face

In my project, we need to introduce a third aspect however, which I am calling Propaganda, which is not as subversive as it seems. In common dictionary definition, Propoganda simply means,

"information, ideas, or rumours spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation etc." [2016-05-23]


As the project is intended to to portray the truths of Dyslexia, good and bad, in a drama production, this seems as good a word as any to describe a set of key points about the condition that need to be inserted smoothly into the script.

The first problem...

The first problem that needs to be overcome is that if we are to use the traditional hollywood three act structure, a typical run of events includes:

  • Act 1 - The description of the ordinary world, the call to adventure, a confrontation, the introduction of the mentor, and the first threshold or 'cliff-hanger' of this sequence.
  • Act 2 - The alignment of tests, allies and enemies followed by crisis, ordeal, reward and the road back or a possible end in sight to the trials.
  • Act 2 - The final act includes 'resurrection' after the second major trial at the end of Act 2, which may have seemed insurmountable, and finally the return to normality.

While there is no guarantee that it will be this structure in use, the basic sequence of events is reasonably similar in many patterns. If we were to make this story just about Dyslexia therefore, having help being given to the principle character to assist in her Dyslexia would come quite a way through the story. As we are also trying to indicate best practice however, this is unacceptable. One of the key, fundemental factors that has been discussed for many years and repeatedly being proven in real-world testing (e.g. the Decoding Dyslexia pilot project, 2015) is that early intervention is vital. For our characters therefore, we need to move the 'resurrection' phase to a very early point in the plot. In fact, in the case of the Dyslexia aspect of the storyline, the 'resurrection' and meeting the 'mentor' are essentially one in the same.

The solution to this is going be making Dyslexia the story and deliver it through a plot involving a more traditional trials to resurrection pattern. A balance needs to be struck therefore: Dyslexia is a vital part of the story, what plot can be added that keeps the attention of children but does not degrade the value of the story to extent that vital information is not carried back into the classroom.