Plot: Step Two

After you’ve got a clear goal, this is the fun part…

One of the reasons I used Jackie Chan for my opening pictures last post was because his action scenes are well plotted.

Does that sound strange? They’re not just punching and kicking (although the punching and kicking is AMAZING). Jackie always uses the environment he’s in, both to create obstacles and to overcome them.

Count how many elements from a classic wild west bar he interacts with in this scene from Shanghai Noon.

I think I got eleven.

In writing for animation, these kinds of obstacles can be called gags. To build the scene, think about the characters and the setting. What properties are inherent? How can they be turned into obstacles and opportunities?

Check out what Tweety and Sylvester can do with a hotel.

I chose that one because it’s short. Virtually every classic cartoon can be used as an example. Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Donald Duck, etc.

What if your story is more about feelings than action?

Your plot will follow the same rules. What kind of characters do you have? Are they shy? What could make being shy more difficult? Are your young lovers on a first date at an amusement park? How could that setting enhance and then interrupt romance?

Your choices don’t have to be complex. Watch these kids try to eat their lunch in peace, while the other one tries to entertain himself.

Voila: tension, character development, and plot!

Advertisements