When I was younger I became heavily influenced by the writings of Bruce Lee. I’m not sure what you know about the man, but I’ve honestly never watched his movies and I can tell you I still place him in my top 3 philosophers. He invented a martial arts style known as “Jeet Kune Do.” The basis of his philosophy was this –
1.) You begin as a fighter without training. Your only objective is to break a man’s nose.
2.) After a bit of training, your focus during the match has become your technique, which subsequently boxes in your instincts and prevents self-realization.
3.) Once your training is honed, you revert back to a fighter who fights by instinct – only now the techniques and training you have honed have become a part of your natural reaction.
I believe very strongly in this line of thinking. I also believe the same thought process can and should be applied to story telling.
Many of the best musicians and artists are able to produce remarkable compositions with very little planning beforehand. They are able to do so because they trust their intuition to navigate them through rough waters, and their training has prepared them to steer in the right direction.
Story should be approached in the same way. There is not 1 inciting incident that propels a story forward, but an endless flurry of them. Each time new information surfaces, an alliance is betrayed, or a change of heart is had, we have a new inciting incident.
Instead of writing with a preconceived notion of what an entire story will shape up to be, we should write with the same fascination our viewer will experience. Place yourselves in the shoes of the protagonist and allow the world around him to react violently with his every attempt to pursue his objective. The more you find yourself in a situation where you can’t find a way out, you’ve forced your protagonist to grow and build upon their prior set of skills.
I want to dive deeper into this idea, and perhaps I will. Today I was determined to break from aimless slumber and begin taking steps toward producing films more efficiently. I plan to continue to promote my latest episode and begin scheduling meetings for my local filmmakers group. It is easy to get bogged down during these dark days, but it is courageous to continue to seek the light when you least believe that it is even out there.