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Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

“You’ve got to remember that the story is much more about the audience than it is about the characters or the plot. And it is much more about the audience than it is about the storyteller. “
Agent Julian Friedmann

“Aristotle described the formula. He did that two and a half thousand years ago. Not only did it work then, it still works today. So actually anyone who says there is no formula is wrong, there is. Aristotle did it in a way that makes it incredibly easy to remember. There’s three words – pity, fear and catharsis. He said you need to make the audience feel pity for a character. You do that usually by making the character go through some undeserved misfortune. What that does – it enables the audience to emotionally connect with the character. And once the writer has got that emotional connection between the audience and the character, the writer begins to have some control over the audience. You then put the character into a worse and worse and worse situation. And because of the emotional connection, the identification, the audience feels fear. When you release the character from the jeopardy or whatever the situation they’re in, the audience experiences a catharsis. Pity, fear, catharsis.”
Agent Julian Friedmann / @julianfriedmann
The Mystery of Storytelling

H/T to Daniel Martin Eckhart’s blog where I stumbled upon Friedmann’s TEDx Talk. You can find the entire transcript of Friedmann’s talk at Write, write, write.

Material referenced: Pity, Fear, and Catharsis in Aristotle’s Poetics by Charles B. Daniels and Sam Scully

Free PDF of Aristotle’s Poetics

Related Post:
40 Days of Emotion
Pity, Fear, and Catharsis and stories being about audiences all point back to the importance of emotion in storytelling. Perhaps the biggest mistake in screenwriting circles in the last 30 years has been putting “Structure, Structure, Structure” at the top of the story pyramid. Richard Walter goes as far as saying the emphasis on structure is one of the reasons there are so many ‘soulless” scripts out there.

Scott W. Smith

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