Jasmine's pond of dreams

Jasmine's pond of dreams

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

School of Rock 301, storyteller's log 2-20-2013

Welcome back to School of Rock- Junior Year.

Dewey is on top of the world days away from rock stardom. What could go wrong?

In most writing approaches anything could go wrong. This is often where I used to get lost. But because we've been following the character trying to reach their goal, having ignored the lesson and going about it wrong- this narrows down our choices. This approach gives our story a solid design. Design? What does design have to do with storytelling?

Let's look at how this approach has led us to such a solid design. There are several design principles that we're following.

1. DOMINANCE. We have one main idea which the story focuses on. It's not all over the place with irrelevant plot stuff. Dewey wants to be a rock god and will do anything to make it happen.

2. UNITY. The story has unity because everything is related to Dewey's actions. The other characters are variations or opposites of the Dewey character. Ned is what Dewey could become if he gives up his dream. Patty is a variation of Dewey in that she wants Ned to solve her problems for her. She preaches responsibility but doesn't act on it. The teachers have also lost some of their dreams. Principle Mullins is by the book responsible, until Dewey cracks her armor with Stevie Nicks song, the Edge of Seventeen. This reconnects her with her passion.
And we see the kids who are already on the road to responsibility without passion. That is until Dewey enters their lives.

3. BALANCE. We get to see Dewey doing it wrong and later we'll get to see him doing it right. We get to see the effect on the others who have lost their passion.

4. CONTRAST. Right from the start we like Dewey more than his band members and Ned and Patty. There's a purity to him and we like his passion. The other characters by contrast are not as likable. We see how the effects of responsibility and passion, or lack of, have shaped all the characters. We've taken the audience up so... We'll be exploring this in later in this post. Don't want to give away the ending.

5. RYTHMN. We've been taking the audience up and down towards hope and fear in an irregular pattern.

Every writer needs to know about design. In fact, every human being needs to know about design. Whether you're writing a story, planning a garden, arranging your living room, writing a blog, composing a symphony, coding software, or painting a masterpiece.

To learn some basics you can check out my, Design for Presentation: The great eye learns to see on slideshare.net

I posted it Sunday and 3 days later is has over 77,000 views! Someone is interested in design.

So what happens to Dewey. "Little does he know..." that while Dewey is trying to convince the student's parents that he's a good teacher, Ned gets the mail. This time the message arrives to the wrong right person. Ned gets a check for teaching at Horace Green. But Ned didn't teach at Horace Green!

Ned, Patty and the police confront Dewey and expose his wrong ways. The character's behavior of doing it wrong is brought to light. How else can they learn. They have to see the effect of their actions on others. Their reaction now is to tread water and try and undo the damage.

The movie contains a funny speech here by Dewey as the parents misinterpret his use of the word "touch". He keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself.  As a result Dewey exposed as a fraud and is fired from teaching at Horace Green.

Dewey now faces the consequences. He's lost his job, his new band, his new friends (the kids) and his opportunity for rock stardom. On top of that he considers himself a failure and falls into depression, in other words, he's symbolically dead.

The design principle of CONTRAST comes into play here. Let's look at the mapping of this.


First we brought Dewey UP. Then because of the contrast we really feel his fall downward. If we didn't bring him up first, it wouldn't have felt as devastating for Dewey and our emotions when we take him DOWN. 

From Dewey's perspective, his life is over.

More extra credit if you can figure out what must happen now. No necessarily how it happens but what must happen. How can be accomplished in different ways.

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