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The Death of the Method?

Banes at 12:00AM, Sept. 12, 2019

The Death of the Method?

In the past, I've been a proponent of the Banes Method - really, the Save the Cat Method - of story construction and story improvement.

The method became all the rage in film production in Hollywood apparently - and has received some criticism as well, for being too formulaic and even damaging to potentially good movies.

It forces stories into a formulaic box, and were visionary filmmakers like Tarantino to have followed that method, their films would have lost everything that made them special. Everything that made them matter.

An example of a story that doesn't follow the formula is the classic Rocky. This movie is referenced in Robert McKee's “Story” as one that doesn't fit into the formula. I watched a video that ran with this, too, saying that Rocky would not have been Rocky if it had tried to conform to some silly rules.

Fair enough! I agree with that. A story has to be allowed to be what it is!

But I stand by the opinion that the Method is incredibly useful for figuring out stories, or figuring out what might be wrong with a story. I don't think of S.T.C. as “rules”. It's guidance that can be taken, or somewhat taken, or ignored completely.

If you'd like me to go through the Method in a Newpost I'd be happy to discuss it again! It's been quite awhile since I've gone over it here.

Have a good one!

-Cat-Savin' Banes

Here's the youtube video that talks about Save the Cat and Rocky (it's a great channel):



Banes at 6:10PM, Sept. 12, 2019

@gunwallace - truth! Yeah, I like the B story insight and how it’s useful for exploring the themes. The “debate” and “bad guys close in” sections are also instructive! As you say, it’s a beginning.

Gunwallace at 2:16PM, Sept. 12, 2019

The Banes Method is a very useful tool to structure the outline of a story, I find. It reminds you to add in a B-story. It encourages you to think about choices, conflict and resolutions. Of course it's only a guideline; a beginning, if you will. But you have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk.

Banes at 12:03PM, Sept. 12, 2019

@marcorossi - Yeah, it's not a universal model, although I think STC leaves space to tell ensemble stories or different kinds of stories. Like bravo said, it's a tool and a guideline. It can be played with and moved around and adjusted or ignored however a writer pleases. I used STC for my comic too, at least least when I'm updating.

Banes at 12:00PM, Sept. 12, 2019

@bravo - word

marcorossi at 7:49AM, Sept. 12, 2019

I'm also a fan of Save The Cat, and I'm using that model in my comic. The problem is that STC is a structure that is heavily based on a single charachter (the protagonist) and essentially works only if the story is a sort of "personal development" story. If we compare it to painting, it's like if STC is a manual that only speaks of portraits. Not all paintings are or should be portraits, however if you are ok with drawing a portrait, a manual that is specific to this is very useful, and certainly there can be an infinite number of portrait without any of them being necessarily unoriginal (since there can be an infinite number of persons to be portraited).

bravo1102 at 3:55AM, Sept. 12, 2019

It has its place in the writer's toolbox, but should always be viewed as a guide, not a dogma.

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