This article is the continued from series of articles –Story Writing For Animation. You can read them all articles by clicking here

“ From the day we on the planet,
And blinking step into the sun,
There’s more to see . . .
….Its the circle of life
And it more all
Through despair and hope ,
Through faith and love. . .”

Do you remember this beautiful song  ? . . .

Yeah , you are right it is from “ The Lion King I “ , I love the moment where all the animals salute their Prince. The synchronization of their actions and the respect  when Prince is raised  in sky is awesome ! What else could be perfect way to introduce the Prince Simba than this ! and What a great way to start of  the SET UP !

Yes SET UP ! Today we will see how to create the Good Set-Up for story.
Set up is not just the introduction its much more than that. Lets see how?
Set up starts with  5 elements  they are
1.    World
2.    Rules
3.    Characters
4.    Character relationships
5.    Motivation and The Goal
The start and Growth of these elements , depends on the story but they are introduced in the SET UP !

See when we write the story , we create the virtual world. We always say that there is no limit to imagination , but we have only 2 hrs. So our work starts from that 2 hrs limit. Every story has its world , though its start from “Once Upon a time . .  .” The world exists before that story .. doesn’t it ?

Look in the picture Start is where story starts and End is where story ends .
But world exists before and after the story (unless your goal is to destroy that world !;) still there will be ruined world hi  hi 😀 )

So bottom line is your story World is immortal, and though you don’t wanna show audience the World that what was before and after the story , YOU MUST KNOW EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR WORLD !

If your main character come into World at the start of movie , like Spirit, Simba, Tarzan . . . He and The audience will learn about the Story World together, but still other characters and You  will know about the Back Story


of the world. ( and you are ahead of them cause you know future of that World which is after the end of Story).

So you are the GOD  (Bramhaa) here , you know everything about the world cause you are the creator !

This knowledge of World helps you in so many ways.  It helps you immensely in character development and Story development . IF you know your story world then automatically the characters in the story will not have difficulty in performing their roles and ultimately your audience will be pleased .

Its that simple , you create the game and you know all doors , you have your map , you have your buddies , your characters you can guide them and control them easily.

But doors are limited and every Game has rules.

Whenever there are rules , their comes believability , entertainment, fun, twits, challenges, winning , loosing, emotions like every sport in the world.
That finally that involves the audience ! 

In our world the Natural Law of gravity creates so many sports , Baseball, soccer, cricket . . . …

Just one law and total entertainment , emotions , spirit and all that it creates with it . .

In next article We will see how the Rules in the story World create the Magic…

Till then try finding the STORY OF YOUR STORY’S WORLD. . . may be you will find another story . .  ha ha before you  kill me better I stop . .

Thanks . .  see you in next week . . 


For All Animation Story Writing Lessons click here



  1. Hi Mahesh sir,
    my name is sarfaraz, and im a story writer aspirant. though i have not written anything before however im a diehard fan of animated movies. and i too have few ideas that i would love to pen down, however im having trouble in starting on any of my concept and im a little perplexed in how to start, like as in how to pen the opening scene or a situation on paper. pleeeeeeeeeez sir if u can just help in what should be the initial steps to write or to start for an animated movie story.
    Sarfaraz Emmanuel John

    • Hi Sarfaraz,

      The opening usually needs to have some kind of hook, that will draw viewer in!

      Like in Disney’s Mulan, it begins with “We are under attack..”

      You can have pre establishing scene for Antagonist or Protagonist too.

      But if you’re having problem with Opening Scene , just remember you don’t have to write the opening scene first!!

      For now, just start with what you’ve got , write the scenes/sequences you have clear idea about , you can always connect the dots later.

      You can explore later when you have different parts written, they don’t have to be in sequence, they just have to be there.

      Like Andrew Stanton says, “its like digging up for dinosaur bones , you have no idea what part you are going to find first!”

      [Not exact words but the essence is same]

      That means, begin anywhere you want, you can write opening scene later.

      Sometimes when you know your ending clearly, you can easily write the appealing opening scene for your story.

      That’s why the Logline is really important tool that will help you for your opening scene. (If you haven’t, do read the article about Loglines in Animation Story Writing Series)

      Also figure out what you like in your favorite film’s opening, what you resonate with most and why it works best?
      And how can you have your opening scene to have same impact.

      (Rise of The Guardians has one of my favorite opening scenes)

      Also opening scene has outcomes, figure out the Outcomes of opening scene in your story!

      That will help you immensely while writing your scene.

      Like in Aladdin, we get introduced to the story world, the magic lamp with a classic hook and pre establishment of Protagonist!

      The peddler first introduces us to Agrabah then
      introduces a Lamp and says

      “This is no ordinary lamp! It once changed the course of a young man’s life.

      A young man who liked this lamp was more than what he seemed.
      A diamond in the rough.

      Perhaps you would like to hear the tale?”

      And then immediately in next scene we meet Antagonist too. We meet Jafar!

      You can read unofficial scripts of your favorite animated films, its a good place to start.

      You can see how script of Disney film would have looked like.

      Here is the link of Unofficial Script of The Lion King

      But before all this , one of the most important distinction you need to make today.

      You said you haven’t written that much, you need* to write a lot!

      And read as much as you can !!

      Read a lot of novels , books anything that tells good stories.

      and write a lot! A LOT!!!

      You should start with goal of writing at least daily 2 pages, doesn’t matter if its good or not.

      Write a lot !

      Then get a feedback or see yourself what’s working what is not working?

      And rewrite again …and again until its appealing and helps in telling story as clearly as possible.

      I hope it helps, Good Luck!

      Mahesh 🙂


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