Looking up examples

So by the time I felt like I had enough information and understanding in my head to actually be of any use to my team in the presentation, there was already a lot done. I should have asked them to leave me some slides so I could just do them in my own time, but I just was not on the ball. There was one slide left and it was examples for meeting the Mentor, which was good! I sat down and started doing that, which wasn’t a super huge task so I still felt pretty guilty and Ryan was sitting with me so we were having fun doing that too!

We came up with

  • Star wars: Obi wan Kenobi
  • Bilbo meets Gandalf
  • Whiplash: Andrew Neiman meets Terence Fletcher
  • Tenacious D: Kyle Gass teaches Jack Black the ways of Rock
  • Rocky
  • Lord of the Rings, Frodo meets the high elf Galadriel
  • Karate kid: Daniel Larusso Mr.Miyagi
  • Kill Bill Volume 1: Hattori Hanso, samurai trainer
  • Professor Oak: Pokemon
  • Django meeting Dr.King Schultz

    Dervla came in while we were doing this and put a few in as well!! it was good fun, but I wish I did more work. 



Dan Harmon!

John was super on the ball and was flying through work and research and all of the wordy thiiiings!! He posted a link to our group about Dan Harmon’s take on story structure, it was really interesting.

Dan Harmon’s Story Model

Dan Harmon’s story model, his story structure, really isn’t his. He tells us this up front. He got it from Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces. He got it from Christopher Vogler’s book, The Writer’s Journey. He got it from Syd Field’s book, The Screenwriter’s Workbook.
And those are useful books. I know, I’ve read them. Yes, okay, I read Joseph Campbell’s book a couple of decades ago and there was some head-scratching involved, but still. I say this because even though I’ve probably read most of the books on writing DH has, his way of looking at story structure is unique. Reading his articles gave me a new perspective on story, and that’s exciting!
Dan Harmon’s talk of rhythms, of drawing one’s audiences’ attention to certain patterns, gave me an ‘Ah ha!’ moment, a realization about something that had puzzled me: How to think of the gap between the Midpoint and the All Hope Is Lost beat. For some reason, that particular stretch of story, bridging it, was a bit of a desert trek for me.
I’ll talk more about that when we get there. For now, let’s take a barest of bones look at Dan Harmon’s story model:
When YOU have a NEED you GO somewhere SEARCH for it, FIND it, TAKE it, then RETURN and things CHANGE.
Or, even more simply, “YOU NEED to GO SEARCH, FIND, TAKE and RETURN with CHANGE.” (SS 103)
Too condensed? Here it is stretched out over the eight stages:
1. When YOU
2. have a NEED,
3. you GO somewhere,
4. SEARCH for it,
5. FIND it,
6. TAKE it,
7. then RETURN
8. and CHANGE things.

The Barest of Bones

It’s going to sound odd, but I suggest you read Dan Harmon’s last article (SS 106) first since it gives a nice, if dense, summary of his system. It’s a kind of whirlwind tour of his 8 steps. Do it now. Here’s the link: Story Structure 106: Five Minute Pilots.
Back? Good!
What I want to do today is, rather than apply this structure to a 5 minute video (as Harmon does), apply it to a 4,000 word short story.
Ready? Let’s go! (Keep in mind that this is the condensed version)

1. Ordinary World

Here is where you establish both the protagonist (YOU) and the protagonist’s NEED.
The protagonist is comfortable in the Ordinary World, or at least he thinks he is. But, nevertheless, he wants/needs/desires something. Next, begin to change his circumstances and unleash the Call to Adventure.

2. Enter The Special World of the Adventure

Because of his need, the protagonist enters (GO) a new, unfamiliar, situation. While SEARCHING for what he wants, he adapts to this new situation.
The character FINDs what they were searching for.

3. Paying The Price

The character claims their prize (TAKE) and pays a price. Their mission accomplished, the protagonist begins the long trek back home (RETURN).
The Big Bad rallies his strength and chases after the protagonist. When the two meet we have the final confrontation that decides whether the protagonist will return to his community with whatever he has taken. (Note: this doesn’t have to be an object.)

4. The Return

Show how the protagonist’s circumstances have CHANGEd as a result of their adventure. This is where the stakes get cashed out and we see how the journey, the adventure, has changed not only the life of the protagonist but the lives of everyone around him.
That’s the barest of bones. When I pick this subject up again, I’ll begin at the beginning and take an in-depth look at the first link in the chain: 1. YOU.
By the way, DH stresses that not every single stage must be explicitly present in every story. Sometimes (often) a story will condense one or more of the stages due to time or space constraints. After all, if we couldn’t do this then I’m not sure if we’d have many truly “short” stories anymore. Having said that, the order of the stages is important.

The Fractal Nature of Story Structure

I’d like to mention something I’ve been thinking a great deal about recently, the fractal nature of story structure. That is, each part of a story can mirror the structure of the entire story.
To put it another way, just as DH’s eight stages describe an entire story they can also describe a chapter or a scene or a paragraph. For example, here’s Dan Harmon’s story about “the guy whose soda turned out to contain poison”:
“(2.1) The guy [you]
(2.2) Makes a stink face [need]
(2.3) Starts inspecting the soda can [go]
(2.4) Runs finger over ingredients [search]
(2.5) Finds “poison” in ingredients [find]
(2.6) Chokes [take]
(2.7) Falls down [return]
(2.8) Dead [change]” (SS 106)”
[1]{1} http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2015/03/dan-harmon-on-story-structure.html

The Call to Adventure! And the Call to reading!

So our team have decided that we should read all the chapters that we were given, which seems like a great plan instead of splitting them up between us. It means that we have an understanding of what we are all talking about rather than the work all being segregated. But while I was all excited for this plan, I forgot about my actual reading skills and how long it was going to take me to even understand what I was reading.. I didn’t really say to my team about how terrifying this task was to me, but I probably should have.

I began trying to read the small amount of pages that we have and all I can say is that it was painful. The book seemed interesting but the words were just not sticking in my head. I sat and wasted 2 and a half hours reading 10 pages, and by the end of it I hadn’t a clue about what I had just read. It was ridiculous and I felt like I was wasting so much time doing a task that should be quite easy for someone.

I sat again with a pen and paper reading each page at a time, trying to take notes on anything that seemed important, but nothing was jumping out, even though the words I was probably reading were the most important. Just a big word blur at the time.

I think if I was doing the project on my own, it wouldn’t have been so stressful because I know how poop I am and I can keep that between me and the tutors, but because I was in a team, and I didn’t want to tell them how awful I am at things, then it was extra stress because they just probably think I’m a lazy team member and that kills.

Drink and draw.. The first and last…


After our busy and kind of long first day back to university we still had the holiday feels and the uni motivation feels too. So a few of us decided to go to the drink and draw in the LOFT. Ooooooo planning things!

It was the first time I ever went and the last time the Loft was hosting it! So a lot of people showed up, the place was packed out, the floor was covered with artsy, drawing skilled folk and clanking bottles mixed with chatter was the soundtrack to the night.

It was super chilled out and it was such a good night! our little group was having loads of giggles and chats and I’m pretty sure at times we were the only people talking (very loudly, oooopsies) But my friends drew amazing drawings and I wish I had pictures of their work to post along with this babble of words!

Anyway there was a lot of distractions and very little concentration on my part so my drawings were just poop little doodles but it was a good laugh!!

Other people’s drawings were amazing and it was very inspiring to see what people could come up with in a certain amount of time. It was like they had magic powers, or worked like those old machines they used to have plotted around in towns, where the booth would take your picture and transfer it into a style where it looked like it had been drawn and then it printed it, those people were human forms of them machines. Isane.

But it was fun, and the people who sat to be drawn were all very interesting, I would have enjoyed drawing them for way longer. A couple of us ended up just sitting and enjoying the night, after that we went a little adventure













The Writer’s Journey: Christopher Vogler

So we got our first assignment!! woooohoo!!
We were split off into groups of four to read a book called “the writer’s journey” we had to read it as a class so our team (Dervla, John, Méabh and I) was assigned a few chapters to read between us. We got 3 chapters: The call to adventure, Refusal to call and meeting the mentor! (pages 99-125).

This task seemed kind of daunting to me as reading and writing and anything involving words, really, I tend to try and avoid as I find it quite difficult to formulate sentences that actually make sense never mind reading them.

But I am determined to try my best and to not let my team down because I want this semester to be a little more organised and hopefully i’m able to stay on top of stuff, even if it is reading and writing..

First day baaack!

The “holidays” are over and sooo we return!! The first day back to uni and it was a busy one filled with updates about what’s in store for our semester to come! All I heard was there was a lot of reading and writing in the weeks to come and I was not super excited. But it was good to see everyone and start learning things again.

For the first while we were being introduced to new narratives. Honestly I’m a little confused about it all and I seem to be in creative elements mindset still. All I could think about was drawing, waiting for the words to be spoken “and here’s what you’ll be creating” Nothing. Didn’t happen. I was so confused my ooooooh my.

But all was well as we began getting a tutorial from Conánn of how to use Maya and make a ball bounce in an alternative way from the way we were originally taught.

An intimidating yet fun first day back, we’ve already got work to do and there’s no drawing involved! Buuuuut that’s good too because I just get to keep drawing things from my brain yaaaaaaaaay!! Brain draws!!

So If you’re having a bad day or just a stressful one or just need a little inspiration/escape take a look at these awesome photos of snowy, tree surrounded mountains 

Also take a wee look at this beautiful video of Iceland and just get motivated to get on a plane and adventure there!



Creative Elements Module Assessment

 The initial beginning of this semester was very intimidating and stressful as there was loads of new people, new software, new ways of thinking and a lot of work. It puts you on edge making you think that you are not possibly good enough to do this course as when meeting all these new amazing people with skills that you do not have makes you feel as though it is impossible to even progress. But as the weeks developed and we began learning more about the progression within the subject and that we all had a variant of skills that were all useful we found that we were all pretty capable and helpful in a way which made working in teams great as everyone brought a little something different to the group 
The weeks fly by and you don’t have a lot of time to reflect on what you are learning, you just keep moving forward and  from this you find yourself doing/creating things that you didn’t realise you could do. The environment in which we learn is like a mini community. We not only learn from just the classes we have you also learn from the people around us. Each element that happened within a week taught you quickly and your time was filled with a whole learning experience, which was fantastic. Small projects helped you with the larger projects and every class we had was very important to the whole movement of the semester and your personal work.  
You learn a wide variant of skills and you use the things from previous weeks discussed to help progress your current work. The class is very supportive and the environment itself is that of a welcomed and comfortable one, where your ideas are never really judged or pinned down as stupid and the work that you create is always enjoyed by at least one person. 
It does get very stressful as you find yourself only thinking of animation and you begin to feel guilty for doing anything but the work. The work load never feels finished, because it is not, you can always do more, you can always do better, or at least that’s the way I felt while working throughout the semester. But this can be a positive as well as it keeps you busy, it keeps you productive and it keeps your mind filled so as you can’t really have time to worry on other elements in life. But it can affect your sleep, eating habits and other elements of health, as you find your free time very limited and most free time is trying to sleep for a few hours.   
All in all this semester has been a love hate one for me, I have found the most amazing friends in the world because of it, developed skills that I didn’t think was possible, met minds of great people, learnt so much on an understanding of other people’s emotional level and also on an educational level and was constantly in a state of productivity.