Using Worldview to Create Academy Award-winning Films (Series Introduction)

Striving to attain mastery as a Two Handed Warrior occasionally results in some very enjoyable if unintended consequences. Learning to “reverse engineer” Academy Award-winning films in order to teach worldview (see Teaching Worldview Through Film) somehow led to my inadvertently developing a unique skill-set for analyzing how filmmakers create Academy Award-winning films.

A true script consultant, such as Linda Seger or Key F. Payton, has read thousands of screenplays and can instantly recognize a myriad of factors that might improve an unfinished script.  I, on the other hand, hate reading screenplays, and often can’t tell the difference between snappy dialogue and good scenery.

However, in the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king. Since few (if any) script consultants are trained in worldview thinking, I can sometimes help screenwriters and creative executives in story development in a way that others can’t.  The highly intuitive use of worldview often employed by Academy Award-winning filmmakers in their character-transformation arcs is often clearer to me (the amateur) than it is to more broadly trained experts.

Guiding my students’ understanding of worldview in the classroom and serving as story consultant in Hollywood have become some of the most enjoyable aspects of my journey toward becoming a two handed warrior. Helping screenwriters, producers, directors, and creative executives “see” and clarify the worldview journey in their film is a very gratifying experience.

So while I would never claim to be an expert, I hope that this ongoing discussion of the relationship between worldview and story will be as helpful to filmmakers as it is to educators.

Who knows, it might even help a two-handed filmmaker win an Academy Award someday.

Now, that would be a very intended consequence,

Gary

Next Post in Series: Worldview and the Power of Story

3 Replies to “Using Worldview to Create Academy Award-winning Films (Series Introduction)”

  1. Key,

    Great to hear from you! Of COURSE I put you up there with Linda Seger. You'll be as big as she is some day. Just give it time. I'm looking forward to checking out Jim Hull's website. I love your summary of worldviews in collision in film. I would love it if you stay a conversation partner in this discussion. I have much to learn!

    Grace and great mercy,

    Gary

  2. Gary, wow! Thanks for slipping my name (and website link) right in there next to Linda Seger's!! I was surprised and honored, and would love to engage you more in the whole "worldviews-in-stories/films" discussion.

    Fact is, great films are ALWAYS about worldviews on collision courses! And it's just as often the starring and co-starring characters who have opposing worldviews, rather than the supposed "good guys vs. the bad guys." That's because we often don't get to "know" the bad guys very well, so we don't know much about their worldviews, while we SHOULD get well-acquainted with the worldviews of the starring and co-starring characters.

    Yes, in many great stories the biggest debate is between the protagonist and his "buddy" or "lover" or "sidekick" or "team," arguing over "what's the RIGHT way to approach this life-or-death problem?"

    That's because "APPROACH" and "worldview" are much more tightly linked than "ACTION" and "worldview." I.e., identical actions CAN grow out of widely differing worldviews, but the "why" motivations make all the difference in the rightness or wrongness of the resulting actions. At least, that's what the "just war" tradition of Christianity would say.

    I could go on (all we philosophers can, right?), but I wanted to refer you to a very interesting site that frequently deals with the meanings/worldviews presented (clearly or unclearly) in contemporary films. The site is http://www.storyfanatic.com, and it's run by Jim Hull, professor of screenwriting at the California Institute of the Arts (up in Valencia).

    Hull is a proponent of the Dramatica Theory of Story (as am I), and what follows is the URL for one of his chief introductory articles to the theory:

    http://www.storyfanatic.com/articles/story-struct

    Hope it intrigues you, Gary, and I look forward to seeing more from your philosophical mind!

    Key Payton

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