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Storytelling on film

Story structure

Generally, stories follow a similar structure. In very basic terms, this could be described in three parts:

  • Start: characters, setting and genre established
  • Middle: problems are encountered
  • End: the problems are solved and equilibrium is resolved

Storytellers can create their own spin on this structure by mixing up the characters, settings and genres, and even by putting the end at the start and the middle at the end. When telling stories, audience is the most important consideration, and new audiences expect to be surprised and intrigued, so storytellers work hard to keep them interested with quirky twists and unexpected outcomes.

Key questions to ask about a film’s story structure:

  • How does the film fit into the basic structure outlined above?
  • Why do you think it is structured in the way it is?
  • How could it be structured differently and what effect would this have on the development of the story?