Monday, October 27, 2008

ON ACTING: The Everyday-Balanced Person Model of Character Development and Storytelling

One very common model of storytelling in drama begins with the everyday-balanced-person. When the story opens, the central character is a human universe at rest, equilibrium set: happily married; or good job; overall content with life. The central character's emotional teeter-totter is poised at the fulcrum.

But soon (most film writing theorists suggest by page 10 in the script) that balance is disrupted by an untoward event, an initiating crisis: the murder of a love one, a false arrest by the authorities, or the visit by a space alien.

The emotionally balanced teeter-totter is now thrown off. Seriously tilted, the disturbing emotions caused by the crisis begin to dominate the hero's emotional life. The rest of the story is the character’s attempt to re-assert balance on life's fulcrum by accomplishing a corrective objective: find the murderer, establish one’s innocence, and see the alien successfully off to her home planet and ease the emotional disquiet…and set the character's personal world and feelings in order again: through plot resolve and emotional homeostasis.


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