Narrative Chains

All the dramatic questions asked in your video get linked together in a Narrative Chain of events.

Cara Friez avatar
Written by Cara Friez
Updated over a week ago

All the dramatic questions asked in your video should be linked together in a Narrative Chain of events.

There are three useful types of Narrative chains:

This Therefore That

In the THIS THEREFORE THAT narrative chain, each scene causes the next. This cause-and-effect relationship creates tension and moves the story forward.

This Despite That

THIS DESPITE THAT occurs when something in your story happens, despite an obstacle in the way. This narrative chain creates conflict within your story due to the obstacle your audience knows will have to be overcome. It's the reverse of This Therefore That.

This Meanwhile That

The final and most complicated Narrative Chain to master is THIS MEANWHILE THAT. The goal of this narrative chain is to build tension between two storylines. In filmmaking, this idea is known as Parallel Action or, as Alfred Hitchcock liked to call it, "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch."

Here's how it works: you start a storyline on one side and build it up to a climactic moment. Now, instead of unraveling that scene, you cut to another scene that's happening simultaneously but is entirely unrelated. As you intercut between the two scenes, leaving each scene at a climax, you emotionally feel the tension rising within both storylines.

If you left out the middle part, the Meanwhile, the scene would fizzle out emotionally. The Meanwhile is the trick to have the stories feel like they're continuously building. This approach holds the audience's attention to continue watching your video, anticipating what happens next.

The key to making the THIS MEANWHILE THAT narrative chain work is leaving each parallel storyline on a question or a climactic moment by creating cliffhangers.

Using cliffhangers when intercutting between two scenes creates tension and rising action within your story. This plot device keeps the audience wondering what will happen next, hooking them to keep watching in anticipation of the answer later in the story.

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