This module is going to explore the concept of a story message.
What does your story “say”?
The message is meaning derived from the sum of events in the story.
As an audience member, we are attuned to these and often leave the theater taking a
message with us in our thoughts.
Consider taking a responsible role in what happens in your fictional universe, in the
message that your fiction presents. Take control of these interpretations, or at least
present them in a way that stimulates thought and debate on the subject—either way,
your story will ultimately, “say something.”
Film is an extraordinarily powerful medium. It has the potential to reach unprecedented
numbers of people. As a story-teller there is a certain inherent responsibility that comes
with such powerful communication. Why not use it in a positive way?
Why not reach people with a story whose message allows them to evaluate their own lives and behavior?
That’s not to say you should adopt a grandstanding view of your own strongly held beliefs, but rather, why not examine morals that can benefit the greater good?
The choice is obviously yours but, regardless, it’s worthwhile to consider the message in
the story you’ve decided to tell.
In movies, a message is usually related to the through-line. If you begin developing a
story knowing the message, it will help inform the choices you make, the scenes you
include and the type of characters you introduce.
For example, if your message is, “When A Door Closes, A Window Opens”, or “Every Cloud
Has A Silver Lining” —
Consider the following choices:
In the opening of your story, you establish the character happy, their life in
balance. Then the proverbial door must close. This will be a scene on its
own. A scene that underscores the message.
Many of the following scenes will be spent struggling with the
consequences of this action. Your character might obsess on the door being
closed and suffer the consequences emotionally.
This will impact the character’s relationships in the story as they struggle to find a new balance
without any luck.
Then, the proverbial window opens and the character learns to see the
door closing in a new light. The character’s change can be measured
against the course of the story’s journey.