Jasmine's pond of dreams

Jasmine's pond of dreams

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

School of Rock 201, storyteller's log

Welcome back to the School of Rock, sophomore year or act 2 part one.

Dewey answers the phone and it's for Ned. Once he learns this is a paying gig, he pretends to be Ned Schneebly. Out of desperation, he's takes the wrong path. He steals Ned's job. And we, the audience, want him to do this. Why? (I'm thinking about this...)

Once Dewey starts out on this path he's forced to continue. It's like a liar who has to keep lying deeper and deeper to cover their tracks. You know at some point it's going to lead to their undoing. In order to get the job, Dewey has to pretend to be a teacher.

At what point is the crossing the threshold? What point is the inciting incident? Does it matter if getting the call or acting on the call starts the story? Or does the story start when Dewey enters the classroom? You need all of it. The character has to learn the information that there can be action towards a new journey. Then they need to take action and start that journey. It's all connected organically. One piece leads to the next all motivated by the desires and limitations of the character.

Dewey enters class and doesn't teach. He doesn't know how. He wants to give the kids a permanent recess.

This is where Dewey meets his first obstacle. These are not ordinary school kids who would love recess. They want to learn and Dewey is not up to the task. We're sliding towards fear. In addition, the other teachers want to know his teaching philosophy. He bluffs his way through it by being vague as possible, letting them fill in the blanks with their own assumptions and prejudices.

The next thing that happens TURNS the story towards HOPE for Dewey. He discovers the kids can play music and they're really good. Dewey formulates a plan and creates a special secret project- Rock School. His ulterior motive is to have them become his new band with him in the lead, enter the contest and win.

So what happens? Ironically, Dewey starts teaching! He teaches them rock history and the attitude of rock- "Stick it to the man."Now we're really rooting and hoping for him. Dewey's in his element and he really comes alive. The kids are learning from his passion. This is the best kind of teaching. Maybe there is a place for passion after all.

So what happens next? What happens in any story when things start to go well? You put up more obstacles. Dewey learns that the school doesn't allow field trips. How would you solve this problem?

In the School of Rock they solved it by having Dewey seduce Principle Mullins (Joan Cusack) to persuade her to let him have his field trip.

Finally, Dewey gets his trip and faces yet one more obstacle. They've shown up too late for the auditions. Dewey lies saying the kids are terminally ill with "stick-it-to-da-man-ni-osis." The kids are allowed to perform.

Let's look at this on our structure mapping.

You'll notice something interesting during this section of the story. The sine wave has a series of up and down spikes. These reflect the hopes (Dewey's actions) and fears (external obstacles) the character and audience travel across on their journey. With our map we know exactly where we are in our story.


These are all progressive complications. But they're all directly caused by Dewey's wrongly following his character want. Yes, you need a character who wants something. But it's so much easier to write when that character does it wrong. This triggers the consequences and reactions that keep them driving forward toward their goal and digging themselves into a deeper hole. And keep the audience going from hope to fear and back again.

Dewey is on top of the world on his way to his goal... what could possibly happen? The answers in our next installment. Extra credit if you can figure out what must happen before then...

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