Breaking Rules

I’ve learned the rules. I’ve learned that characters are supposed to be active. I’ve learned that they are supposed to have a grand objective they either achieve or don’t achieve by the end of their story. I’ve learned three act structure–introduction to conflict, wrestling with conflict, resolution of conflict. I’ve learned that every piece of dialogue is supposed to contribute to an ultimate goal. I’ve learned that it’s been this way since the Greeks crafted their tragedies and comedies and continues to be this way as Hollywood development agencies look over potential scripts. I’ve learned all of these rules over my undergrad career, and I think it’s time to start breaking them.

My project will we a fictional essay “documentary” that follows the story of a filmmaker and his relationship with a mysteriously unavailable woman before she disappeared. It will not necessarily have a goal driven plot–but it will give us information on their relationship that contains narrative movement and change and will end in him making an important decision. Will it follow some narrative conventions, yes. Will it break others, yes. Why am I doing this? I’m doing this because, after our workshop on avoiding what our departments tend to do too often, I find myself wanting to combat the rule of “goal” driven plots. If I worry too much about every scene having “goals” behind it, I think I will make this film something that it isn’t. Documentaries are made all the time in a way that tells interesting stories for the sake of the story or character within it being interesting–not necessarily perfectly structured. I think I will take this from documentary and apply it to documentary fiction. It will be more about keeping the audience captivated by the information rather than the goals. What I think is important about this is that as for the main character, he is captivated by information as well–he is captivated by the visual and verbal information that comes from his love interest. The audience will be in his situation, staring at the screen while analyze what there is to absorb.


What rules will your work break and why will they break them? What inspirations will you draw on? What rules do you wish to keep?

One thought to “Breaking Rules”

  1. I feel like my work on my project will break some social norms. By looking into political power I am trying to tear away the curtain in front of lawmakers and what holds influence over them. There’s an old saying that goes something like “there are two things you never want to see made, laws and sausages.” Basically there is an unwritten rule that citizens vote and then let politicians do what they want because it is easier to be ignorant than know the truth. So I kind of look at my project as a form of investigative journalism almost.

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