Before reading this, it may be useful to check out the simple Overview of Story Charts.
So you want to figure out why a movie really connects with you. Let's begin.
First let's see if we can figure out what the story seems to be basically about. The name of the movie often gives it away:
Once we figure out what the story seems to be basically about, let's think about how the story ends:
Now we can represent this basic story with a line.
That was the easy part.
Now let's see if we can figure out what the story's Big Idea is. Experts call this the Controlling Idea. We can call it the point of the story. To find it, let's see what else happens in the movie. It helps to focus on the obstacles our heroes go through to reach the happy ending.
Let's draw this something else that happens the same way:
If we take a look at what we have drawn above, we can see that something else had to change aside from the main story in order for the main story to come out the way it did. This change gives us enough to take a guess at the point of the story:
Of course, there are many details we have ignored so far. Each Plot goes through many ups and downs before the eventual ending. For example, here is the full Story Chart of the movie Casablanca:
All these details fully complete a story that is about:
True love leads to living responsiblyAnd you can see that by looking at the three Plots simply:
In trying to figure out a story, it will help to remember that Plots can be made of anything that Changes, and things that change in stories generally fall into three categories:
Of course, movies are personal and subjective experiences. One person's connection with a movie might be very different than someone else's. Story Charts hope to help anyone create their own interpretation of a story and share it with the world.
Story Charts can sometimes help explain why we get bored at certain points in a movie:
The heroes go from win to win to win without real obstacles. We know life is not like that.
We just got used to rooting for one story and the movie starts spending all the time on a different story. One way to tell this happened is to see if the things that mattered at the end of the movie mattered at the beginning.
Sometimes there are so many stories going on, it's hard to figure out which one is the main one. It's hard to figure out what the point of the story is (the Central Idea). Then all we can do is enjoy the eye-candy or maybe see what time it is or maybe go get some popcorn.