The Research Area: Causality Story Sequencer 2.0

The Research Area: Causality Story Sequencer 2.0


The Research area is actually the most fundamental
part of Causality. It’s where you create
and organize Beats and Snippets before you decide whether
to use them in the story, it’s where you track
which of your ideas you’re currently using, and it’s where things go when
you pull them out of the script. It’s also where you
develop characters, which we’ll talk about
in a later tutorial. You access the Research Area by clicking the tab
in the timeline. And then you’ll often work
in full screen by pressing Tilde or Escape. Research works like
any organizer. You create folders by right-
clicking and giving them a name. You create Beats first of all
by double-clicking and giving them a name. You can also right-click
and create a Story Beat. We’ll explain Subtext Beats
in another tutorial. And you can press Enter
or Shift-Enter on an existing Beat to create one
before or after. The same way, you can create
Snippets in research, by right-clicking,
and Create Snippet. That’ll create a stand-alone
Snippet, but I actually want it
to be associated with the Beat so that it gets put into
the script when I use the Beat. So I’ll instead right-click
the Beat, and say Attach New Snippet. And then I can take a stab
at writing the Snippet, long before I actually put it
anywhere in the real script. This allows you
to get started writing and hearing
your characters talk, but without having to
immediately think about structure,
which really stifles creativity. It’s important to understand that
this isn’t just note-taking. These are real Beats
and real Snippets that we drag into the story
when we’re ready to use them. So as I drag the Beat
into the Whiteboard, the attached Snippet
goes into the script. And now each of them
gets a green checkmark to show that they’re used. This is a lot like video editing
where you have assets in a bin. Then you use them
in the timeline. And if you don’t like them,
you just pull them out, it’s non-destructive. The same way, deleting from the
Script and Whiteboard is non-destructive. You’re just pulling the Beats
and Snippets back out of the story, but they keep
living in Research. The only way to truly delete
something in Causality is to delete it directly
from Research. Now, this doesn’t mean you have
to create everything in Research first.
When you create Beats and Snippets
directly in the story, behind the scenes, they go
into the Unsorted folder. At some point, you should drag
these items into proper folders. That’s really all there
is to say about Research. It’s both easy
and very powerful. A couple of ideas
for how to use it, is first of all to do arcs
as subfolders. It doesn’t have to be beginning,
middle and end, your arc could have any number of phases.
Point is that a character behaves differently
in different parts of an arc, and it’s easier to understand
if you keep the phases separate. Here, for example, my character
has a crush, which is one of his arcs that develops
over the course of the story. In the beginning,
I’ve created a bunch of Beats where he’s awkward. Then in the middle, he becomes
hostile and basically blows it because it doesn’t feel
he deserves it. And towards the end,
through a crisis, he ends up showing
his true self, and it turns out
she accepted him all along. I haven’t come up
with most of the events, but I know where to put them. You’ll notice that things
are ordered the way I intend for them
to appear in the story. But ordering has no meaning
in Research. I could arrange them
in any other order, and it would be the same. The order is only for me to get
a sense of how it might play. Next, you should create
folders for character traits. I have a complex villain,
and among other things, he has twisted rationalizations
for everything. So I have a folder for all that.
A big part of his motivation is that he’s
an unrecognized hero, so I also have
a folder for that. This way, all my knowledge
about the character exists whether or not
I use it in the story. The same way, you can make
folders for things that could happen in the story. Here I have funny things
that can happen. Here I have ideas
for a tunnel sequence. This allows you to express ideas without having
to think structure, which is too big of
a responsibility this early. Especially back story is a
great thing to put in research. Back story is torture
to get through in a story, but if you put it here,
you get it out of your system, and it becomes part of your
knowledge about the character. And then you can pepper it
sparingly into the story when it makes sense. Finally, you should try to Show
instead of Tell. Instead of writing down the
character’s psychological state, write something the character
does from that state. This is the old saying, that “character is
what character does”. For example here,
I don’t just write that the character has a crush. I come up with specific things
a person with a crush does. Maybe he becomes quiet
when she walks into the room. Or he says awkward,
fumbling things. These are events that we can
actually use in the story, and instead of explaining
how he feels, his actions reveal how he feels, which is much more interesting
to watch.

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