17Mar04 Story and Character Arcs

I‘m not an expert, and I’m not particularly skilled. Just bear that in mind with this post! I’ll provide links as I go, per usual.

Mentioned before: I’m autistic. I don’t ‘get’ people, and a lot of the time, I don’t ‘get’ stories. I like stories when they’re well done, or interesting, but I have major difficulty and pains trying to make one of my own.

A lot of these videos I picked up from YouTube’s Creator Academy and Pre-Production: Before Pressing Record in particular. I highly recommend learning from and engaging with YT’s CA even if you don’t plan to make videos or media of any sort. There are so many transferable skills available from taking part in this free service. I’ve been to uni, I’ve tried FutureLearn and EdX. I hands-down prefer YT’s CA for its basic but effective framework.

If you’re looking for a thorough character sheet template, check out Rin Chupeco’s post here: http://www.rinchupeco.com/character-template-sheet/#comment-6717

For example, do I plan to start shooting vlog-style videos, skits, shorts, and other in-person recordings? Hell no.
Do I want to make animations, rig things realistically (I only have a vague notion of what that means right now), and eventually produce engaging, perspective-shifting OVAs? Hell yes.

And story-boarding will be invaluable (Like Navi) in that endeavor.

This one is about ‘how to turn ideas into compelling stories of formats’. Besides the unfortunate and prolific use of ‘crazy’ to imply ‘unreasonable’ or ‘unusual’, Georgia Koch provides a whistle-stop tour of (one form of) a creative process. The video’s summary is: generate free-flow ideas, shortlist, incorporate unstructured impulses, keep in mind current struggles against a backdrop of core perspectives, uphold suspense, develop take-home message or call-to-action, “revise story ideas to keep your audience’s interest”, include connection characters and reasons to continue watching.

This one’s pretty funny and makes me feel like home. I also absolutely love his perspectives on transient life. And that characters should be their own people, otherwise they won’t feel real. Use characters to drive the plot. Also his cat is cute af. I took so many notes during this one the first time. It felt like I was in lectures again. *twitch twitch*

Script to Story, with regards to video production. Anna Akana talks through starting one, refining it, and using a checklist to ensure production materials can be efficiently gathered beforehand. Again, the use of ‘schizophrenic’, ‘psychopath’, and ‘I drink the script Kool-Aid’ were quite jarring and off-putting… as, like, someone with mental illnesses? And with mentally ill family members?

But besides that, the advice to only describe visuals or audio tracks that would be observable by someone in that situation is a good one. Unless you use voice-over thoughts — which is probably a Cinema Sin and I don’t really know or care why. Also include in your script what each person’s emotional stakes are, to each character. The organizational tips to color-code and group by section / topic are very helpful.

I do wonder about the ‘Pregnapocalypse’… erm, production. Like, would that include all impregnable people (including children apparently WTAF), including intersex people, (some) transmen, and I’m almost certain she probably included agender people, and non-binary people like me — as long as they were Assigned Female At Birth / AFAB. Which makes sense, if you’re in for gender essentialism. Link 1, Link 2, and Link 3. Really, it should be anyone with a functional uterus. (Is that rude to infertile people?)

Look: these questions really derail me from whatever it is I’m supposed to be thinking about. It always bugged the shit out of my elementary and middle school where the sex ‘education’ involved talking about periods. To only AFAB people. And fuck all about penises, actually enjoying sex, or *le gasp* … MASTURBATION. Teach kids to have fun by themselves safely and literally no one is worse off. Making jokes about cucumbers or vacuum cleaners is going to give people yeast infections and genital injuries, FFS.

From Every Frame a Painting, I remember Nick Frost being fricken’ amazing. I did like the Cornetto Trilogy, but I still feel kinda ‘eh’ about it. Also I always read “murder your darlings”, but I guess “kill your babies” / “don’t be precious” is the modern version. Methodical and mathematical is good. =)

I can see why having a final image and clear understanding of your plot would be a good idea. Especially for motivation. But similar to the casual dude video before last, I’ve been leaning towards wanting to let “life” happen on the page. Because life isn’t some super complicated Aizen multi-layered bizarre scheme where “This was all a part of my plan!” Life is messy, takes wrong turns, and not fun or interesting at times.

Which is why I really liked Whisper of the Heart. Sure, it took its sweet-ass time, but it felt damn real. It could have ended a dozen times before it did, and some may argue it should have, but I like that it took its time to reach the conclusion that apparently felt right to the creators and producers.

Omg, I just realized I’m essentially writing rambly academic essays with (only online) links as references.

Whitney Milam writer and Mary Doodles artist.

Re: Video Projects. Create a simple style to help you communicate ideas. From your head to people outside your head. Can use color-coded characters, or collages. Draft on paper, not on video. Use different draw distances, angles, panning or zooming.

Use action arrows, descriptive text, and images. Review script, select good shots to keep it tight, and translate into a framework of visuals. Run screenings with as many different kinds of people as people to highlight potential issues or uninteresting segments that need to be edited or cut to benefit the whole story.

A storyboard is a simple drawing that’s kind of like a comic book for your story. It helps you (or your camera-person) get the shots that you need to make a story.

I really liked this video. It encompassed a neat selection of differing considerations, without feeling rushed, erratic, or incomprehensible.

This one’s a clear, focused, detail-oriented tutorial on how to create an individual storyboard page. As someone who regularly ‘gets bogged down in details’, I ask this question a lot:

But how exactly do I do that?”

Give me a list of instructions and I will do them to the best of my ability. It’s only after A Levels and University that I’m finally able to appreciate non-contextual ‘tips’ like in prior videos.

Close up, medium, and wide shots. Wide is usually establishing something, like background, setting, landscape, or perspective. Close-up is for drawing attention to things, but can feel forced if used too often, for too long, or for irrelevant props or events. Bird’s eye view is from the angle of a bird flying over head and looking down. Ant’s eye view is from the angle of an ant looking up. ‘Extreme’ BEV or AEV is nearly vertical.

Also, background design. I usually put off planning the space occupied by my drawn or painted subjects until I have no other choice.

This video is in direct contrast to the earlier one with the casual af dude whose advice was to just start writing. And the SoulPancake person Georgia Koch (oh gods, I really hope they’re not related to the Koch brothers)

Which gave me the following links:


I commented on this first one under the main post. Yes, I AM autistic, and really, really prefer my formulae to follow simplification rules.


Again, great for the details-oriented of you. Greetings, fellow persnickets!


I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s bookmarked because it looks in-depth enough to be an ocean. Or the dankest regions of space.


Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the journey,

Mx Dozana, of Mx Dozana Art


Author: mxdozana

Autistic Physicist Artist AD(H)D'er. Person who lives in the UK. I am anxious, depressed, was dx'd OCD as a kid but who knows if I still meet the criteria now. I like anime and video games, as well as cats, Zelda, Elder Scrolls, science, neuroscience, math, linguistics, art, cats, music, and cats. ... Cats are my thing.

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