Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Community Rules

So NBC has elected to leave Community off its recently announced mid-season schedule.

Sign the petition if you'd like to see the show continue.    In the meantime, check out this excellent article over at Wired that provides insight into the creative process of Dan Harmon, creator of Community. In the article, Harmon talks about his 'narrative embryos,' a distillation of the story process by way of Joseph Campbell, and oh, Die Hard:

1. A character is in a zone of comfort
2. But they want something
3. They enter an unfamiliar situation
4. Adapt to it
5. Get what they wanted
6. Pay a heavy price for it
7. Then return to their familiar situation
8. Having changed

Essentially, it's Campbell's monomyth, boiled down to the extreme. Harmon uses this same process in breaking every single episode of Community.

Here, from Harmon's blog, is the extremely complex 'embryo' for the episode recently that explored six different possible timelines for the show:

I don't outline or break stories down this way, but often times I wonder if I should. My WIP right now (the #scifiJohnHughesbook) comes together and falls apart every day. Two days ago I was reaching the tipping point, now I'm questioning the purpose of the entire thing. I don't know what this book is. It doesn't feel like other books I have written. It feels strange and awkward. I know I have to just keep going. This novel has been waiting to be written for years.

How about the rest of you? Outline? Embryo?


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