Episodic Three Phase (part 3)

Let’s wrap up Episodic Three Phase!

Three basic phases you carry a premise through:

  • Exposition
  • Execution
  • Resolution

Exposition has a CATALYST.
Execution has a METHODOLOGY.
Resolution has a CONCLUSION.

Five different types of premises you take through these three phases:

As previously mentioned, this three phase structure is mostly seen in the structure of an episode of a television series. That’s why we’re calling it “episodic” three phase.

But…

This three phase structure also applies to other forms where you see large stories broken down into tiny discreet chunks:

  • In a seven season story, the narrative is broken down into mini form chunks in the form of episodes.
  • In a movie, the narrative is broken down into mini form chunks in the form of single scenes.
  • In a book, the narrative is broken down into mini form chunks in the form of chapters.

All these mini form chunks have a premise. And…

Whenever you have a premise, these three phases apply.

We’ve seen this “premise” idea before. We’ve seen it in both short form story structure (aka “cubbies“) and long form story structure (aka “the seven seasons.”)

Cubbies

A short form premise is still a premise. So when developing the premise for your movie – these three phases still apply:

Act 1 – exposition.
Acts 2/3 – execution.
Act 4 – resolution.

The Seven Seasons

When looking at a long from story – the seven seasons – obviously it has episodes, so we see the three phase structure there. But that’s just the start. The three phase structure is weaved into the seven seasons in several different ways.

Say an entire season has a premise driving its storytelling. That premise has a beginning, middle, and end. Exposition. Execution. Resolution.

Then the entire show, the story, the series as a whole – has a premise. That too has a beginning, middle, and end.

The Beginning – The First Era. Seasons 1, 2, and 3.
The Middle – The Second Era. Seasons 4 and 5.
The End – The Third Era. Seasons 6 and 7.

Era 1: Exposition.
Era 2: Execution.
Era 3: Resolution.

The three phases operate in the smallest form of a story, all the way up to the largest. Long form, short form, mini form, – they all have a premise, and they all utilize the three phase structure.

In a very real way, it’s all about these three phases.

It’s why the dramatic evolution in the seven season structure works:

  • Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis.
  • Beginning. Middle. End.
  • Exposition. Execution. Resolution.

In the end, it all comes together.

That’s “rock,” Animals! We made it! That’s it!

As you may recall, way back when, we said that the face of a story has two sides:

“Rock” and “Juice.”

Our discussion so far has been entirely about rock:

“The necessary structure that a story is built around.”

There’s still that whole other side to get to. The juicy-juice side.

But to do this, we feel the blog format isn’t ideal. “Juice” is more immersive, more esoteric, more long form. Therefore…

We’ll be putting it all into a book.

So keep a lookout for that.

We’ll be digging deep into the “how” of your creativity and the ineffable qualities that give a story its sense of inspiration.

We’ll also be putting out a book about the cubbies.
And a book covering the seven seasons.

If you thought we said everything there is to say about these two, you’ve got it wrong Animals! So far we’ve only covered the bare bones. There’s much much more. And now that you’ve got your swimming legs, prepare to dive in even deeper!

Story Shamans will also be doing a podcast.

So keep your ears open.

And check back in for the occasional video, when the mood strikes, and a few surprises along the way.

Get ta’ writin’ Animals!


What is Story?

What is Story?

Story is life.

A microcosm of our reality, communicating our experiences within that reality, to others.

Fundamentally, our psychology is built to understand the world via story. Specifically. Because of this basic truth, stories are how we teach and how we learn.

Story is how we make sense of the world around us.

We use stories to connect, to challenge, to stimulate, and entertain. The best stories do all of these things simultaneously, and more.

To study story is to study life itself. Psychology, philosophy, morality, human behavior – everything.

This will be the center of our study here in this series. The study… of everything.

Fundamentally, a story has two main elements:

“Juice” and “Rock.”

What are those?

Juice

It’s the creative ingenuity of a story.

The fluid inspiration, energy, and intuition that permeates your story. It’s the life blood.
We’ll get into the “juice” side of things much later. For now, we’ll be diving into…

Rock

It’s the inherent structure that a story is built around.

A building needs load bearing walls, a body needs a skeleton, and a story needs its ROCK elements. The pieces that make all the other work possible.

  • Inspiration and Skill.
  • Art and Structure.
  • “Juice” and “Rock.”

Let’s first take a look at crushin’ that “rock.”

Broadly speaking, there are three “types” of stories to concern ourselves with.

There are three general “forms” your story can take:

Long form

“Long form” storytelling is when a story is told over multiple volumes. Such as a television series, a book series, or a film series.

There are many CHUNKS of story, that all aggregate into an overall whole.

Long form storytelling follows a “seven season” structure.

Now the term “season” is borrowed here from television, but the idea relates to any kind of serialized storytelling:

Seasons of a TV show, books in a novel series, movies in a film franchise.

Any story that is intended to be broken into separate volumes, or what we’ll call “seasons,” is considered “long form” and will follow the seven season structure.

We’ll get into the details of the seven season structure as we move forward.
To jump straight to the seven seasons now, click here.

Short form

A “short form” story is a story told as a single piece. A novel, a film, a book, a play.

It’s a stand-alone story, that is not meant to be continued. It can be continued in a sequel. But it’s originally constructed as a single piece unto itself, with a definitive ending.

“Short form” storytelling follows a structure we’ll call “cubbies.”

The “cubbies” refer to the fifteen different elements that make up a well constructed short form story. All the pieces you NEED to have.

We’ll be covering the cubbies in detail very soon, but to jump straight to it all now – click here.

Mini form

“Mini form” storytelling is when a story is told as a single mini section, or slice, of a larger story. Such as a single episode of a TV series, or a chapter in a book, or a single scene in a movie.

Mini form storytelling uses an “episodic three phase” structure.

“Episodic three phase” refers to the three basic phases that an episode progresses through.
Here again we borrow the term “episode” from television. But the term simply refers to any small slice of an overall story.

We’ll get into the deets a little later, but to jump straight to “episodic three phase,” click here.

So…

To understand the rock of long form stories, you’ve got to understand the “seven seasons.”

To understand the rock of short form stories, you’ve got to understand the “cubbies.”

To understand the rock of mini form stories, you’ve got to understand the “episodic three phase.”

These structures, and all of their elements, will be our main focus for the foreseeable future.

Settle in, there’s a lot to cover.