Pixar learned how to tell stories from a comedy improviser. She learned it from another comedy improviser. His name is Kenn Adams.
All those big movies used a structure that was for telling stories without a script.
Life is like that too. It all happens on the fly. We don’t have any lines.
Like improv, we’re all going round making stuff up.
Kenn Adams says that the middle of every story poses “The Question of the Play.” The answer is only ever Yes or No.
Will she find the treasure?
Will he find the cure for the epidemic?
Will she overthrow the monster?
Will he marry his lifelong sweetheart?
The rest of the play is the battle to answer that question. Some characters want the answer to be Yes. Some want the answer to be No. Outside events push the answer one way or another too.
Look at Home Alone. Will Kevin thwart the burglars?
The bad guy slips on the ice. The story moves towards Yes.
The bad guy gets inside the house. The story moves towards No.
Our lives are a series of movies played out simultaneously.
At any one time we are dealing with a collection of Questions Of The Play. We are a multitude of stories, all happening right now.
Will I be successful?
Will I die alone?
Will I be happy?
Will I have good health?
Like any drama, things happen that push the answer towards Yes or towards No.
We make decisions that have the same effect.
What is happening in your life? Is it pushing the outcome towards the finale you want, or away from it?
What are you doing to be the hero that drags the story back to the ending you want it to have?
As life unfolds, check where the story is headed on that see saw between Yes and No. Step in to push it back in the right direction.
You are not watching this movie. You are living it. And you are the hero who decides how it ends.Alun Parry is Director of The Liverpool Psychotherapy Practice