Television as a story form is the best part of books’ characters and movies’ plot. It’s like a snack version of a larger media banquet, a portion of story broken into perfectly digestible bites. Due to its repetitive nature characters are relied upon to provide structure to a never ending story. While changing plot and growth are necessary to keep viewers tuning in. This format gives rise to a new episode, then a new season and eventually ends before the true end of the larger story, thus these bites deliberately focus on the moment.
The ‘moment’ is not unique to television, everyone can recall a favorite moment from a recently read book or a popular movie. What sets apart moments in television are timely convergences of character, plot, dialogue and growth. These moments illustrate, move forward and are ultimately why we watch. No other format has the time to develop these infusions over and over for our taste buds like television. With the increased space other characters enhance the natural flavors and highlight the relationships that are a story’s bread and butter.
The problem with television is stringing together enough flavorful moments to warrant an audience tuning in. Period. We quickly loose interest if momentum isn’t maintained. More than any other form television needs a master storyteller to be successful. As we study television we can learn how to manage a story line and dissect how to recreate powerful moments in our own work.
Need a place to start? Click one of my top television posts!