Introduction to Conflict in Animation Story Writing

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

A little bit Confusing title?  But At the end of this article this wont seem to be confusing.

So we are now learning the second important stage of Story , that’s CONFLICT.

Lets start from you first.(I’ll do this many times in future too , so get used to it  J).

In some previous articles we have seen that “The great story is the one which has the deep reflection of LIFE that we can take away with us. And if we need Audience Involvement , we got to have something that relate with their inner feelings. That’s what LIFE will do for them.

May be this will be seem like self improvement talk,  but I just have this answer;

after all its all ART not SCIENCE where hard & precise rules create the great miracles. Instead in ART its all about feelings, emotions, inner thoughts,imagination. . . .

So its my request when you will start for your story,scene, characters, animation,  emotions of characters , all steps in your creations , just start from yourself.

If its your story , character, picture . .  for that to become masterpiece. You must have to relate yourself with your creations , if  you have something in common with them , its great , you will care for them so much and if you don’t have anything , at least  unconsciously but you must have to relate yourself to your creations.

I learned few days ago that  “It’s virtually impossible to give compelling performance if you can not relate to your character,

Actually if you do not in fact “LIKE” your character”

Lets look back at your Life , and remember the biggest challenge of your life and the way you made through it. I guess its definitely a great story to hear    (may be will  be seen in future).

Here in this story there is a hero (its you) who conquered the challenge bravely,and I believe you must have learned something important. (please share with me).

So that’s what we do in best movies , we have good characters who face the biggest challenge conquer it , and they change (The good story has character arcs where they learn something , or they change in good way).

See almost in every movie we know its all gonna be alright , then why we watch it so excitingly, wondering what’s gonna happen next?

New incredible characters ? Yeah definitely (it must be new, fresh, unexpected, impossible)

But we love sequels too. Toy Story 2 is the best example.

Okay , I tell you , we wanna see how do they handle challenge ? how do they overcome the  challenge and achieve their goal, dream ?


“If you want to create legendary movie , it will still do though  you have just ordinary character, but most important part will be what’s the challenge and how extraordinarily  he pushes himself against his limits and in spite of all odds he finally achieves his dream?”

Lets look at CONFLICT stage deeply. Sir Ed Hooks tells us that Conflict sounds negative. Actually it does slightly we can call it challenge; but then it feels like we are playing sport or going for a war.

I just wanna show you the new perspective that though we call it CONFLICT , it will not be always negative , it will be of different intensity. Small Conflict , Big Conflict . . .

At the conflict stage we give the story and character the new direction, new turn. Mostly it’s the stage where things start changing unexpectedly.

During this stage we have to show the real Challenge in the story,  its best advise from me

When you will create a character in SET-UP,

In the Conflict stage audience will be familiar to Character , and they may be start understanding him, the way he feels, his best things , his limitations (if they don’t start understanding the characters go back to SET-UP and work hard to make that happen)

Here I wanna tell you another most important thing ,

The first and must important outcome of SET-UP is , up to CONFLICT stage audience should start realizing the feelings of our character, they should start relating him to themselves someway, they should know his strong points, his habits and same his limitations , not all ! Actually its impossible but the most important aspects and assets of his life.

And just before the CONFLICT stage audience must be get involved with story and character so that they wanna know what will happen with their character.


And now at CONFLICT stage you have to challenge the Character with a Goal that’s almost seem to be impossible for Character at that time.

It will be seem to be impossible only when you have created BEST SET-UP

For example

Look at Toy Story 1

  1. Woodie and Buzz get lost in the way to home.
  2. They fall in the hand of insane kid SID
  3. they get locked in His room

Note:  the room from where no toy have ever been escaped without death.

Its at the start of conflict stage

But see for the point 2 (insane SID) and the deadly information about the Room there wasn’t a board that says all these things.

Instead the story has perfect SET-UP.

So we have learned here that

  1. For CONFLICT at first there MUST BE A PERFECT SET-UP
  1. At CONFLICT the challenge must be seem impossible for our character at that stage.
  1. CONFLICT is the soul of movie as it gives momentum for story and force audience to get locked at their sits.
  1. Its just not the incredible Characters but the incredible challenges and the way they face incredible challenges creates outstanding story.

In next article we will learn types of conflict and more about the conflict.

Thank you very much . . .

For All Animation Story Writing Lessons click here



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