Tuesday, 31 January 2017

@Phil: Further ideas for plot

Looking through your feedback for my story and how it could go, I've had sort of branching ideas. The main point of what I wanted for the story is not to paint any character as antagonistic and for the audience to pick up on sympathies for the main character, being the Elf, stuck in job he dislikes and nobody really listening to him. However, I do also see great opportunities a character vs. character set-up, since the main theme of this story could be called frustration. I think I get a clear picture in my head of Santa arriving and the Elf wants to follow procedure to let him in with his key card, but Santa just goes about ignoring the order of how things are done, and though Santa is his boss, it gets under the Elf's skin, and he has to follow around Santa fixing all the mess he makes. Your suggestion of the Pixar short 'Presto' can clearly influence this sort of battle of wills type story outline. It's slightly more chaotic and based on slapstick then my original idea.

In keeping with my original story idea, which is based around the frustration of tedious sort of actions, I think I could simplify it, and base story gags around expressions. I wanted it to be a commentary on never being able to get anything fixed for you in an office, so it could be the Elf trying to get the doors to the Space Station to open before Santa arrives but he key card has been disabled. It can be set up simply so he's talking on the station tannoy to get it fixed but he's being directed back and forth to different departments and has to rush to fill out order forms to get his password for the system changed and get a new key card. I think a gag I could set up instead is that they keep playing 'Jingle Bells' as the hold music and the Elf then figures out instead of waiting the be granted access, he can just hold up the speaker and the doors open as Santa walks in, efficiently doing his business, allowing it to end on a happy note.

In terms of set up, it reminds me of this scene from Zootropolis and speaks to me in it's accurate depiction of desperation to get things done on time and waiting for people to do their job.

Let me know what you think of both of these ideas. I'm getting good ideas for storyboarding set-ups for both of them and would like to see what you think.


  1. Hey Zoe - okay - nicely explained: so it looks like your conflict is really a case of 'character vs environment' - the goal being 'opening the bay doors for Santa' and the obstacles being 'the system'... maybe you need to think about personifying 'the system' a bit - so maybe the 'computer says no' element of your story has an interface or a 'shape' to it, that becomes the antagonist - as in the computer in Wall-e - it doesn't have to be as overt as this, but the idea that 'the computer' is the antagonist might give your audience a more immediate way to identify with the elf:


  2. Oh - in terms of your ending, it does seem yes, as if the 'answer' to opening the door in the end should be something completely simple and straightforward, so a comment on the 'over-engineering' of everything when a simple door handle would do the job perfectly well :)