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Curious Aboout

Mastering Story Structure with Emmanuel Oberg and Max Timm

In this recording of a live teleconference with Emmanuel Oberg and the ISA's Max Timm, you'll get an introduction to the Story-Type Method®, as Max and Emmanuel discuss:

1. Structure is everything, but what is structure? A good story is a metaphor for a problem-solving process. Identifying where the main problem lies - outside the protagonist (in other characters or nature); within the protagonist; in society - leads to the Story-Type Method®, which defines three main story-types: plot-led, character-led and theme-led. This innovative way of looking at story structure can help writers to develop any story: action movie, character driven piece, even hybrids and exceptions.

2. The Fractal Aspect of Story structure. The three-act structure can be used to design not only the whole film but also its parts: acts, sequences, scenes, subplots, strands... This is one of the many differences between the dramatic three-act structure and the more well-known logistical three-act structure, based on page numbers or minutes, such as the 30-60-30 paradigm. The dramatic three-act structure is more flexible, more powerful and is even optional, at least when it comes to designing the story as a whole.

3. How various tools can be used to manage information, which is another part of story structure. Tools like dramatic irony, surprise, mystery and suspense. Many films such as Tootsie, Avatar, The Lives of Others, Sleuth, Infernal Affairs and its remake The Departed have a structure based on managing information rather than simply managing conflict. The logistical 30-60-30 paradigm on its own can't explain how these stories are designed.

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