Apr 15, 2015

If you want to choreograph a scene but are wondering where to start in terms of story, here are some of the most common tropes through which storytelling is progressed with action.



Premise: two sides attack one another until one wins.

Principal usage: Principals needn’t just be the ‘leaders’ of the group, they can emerge from amongst the pack either for their skill and bravery, their cunning and opportunism, a traitor performing a double cross, their cowardice and survival instincts, or their personal vendetta (Which can be within their own team or on the opposing side).


Capture The Flag

Premise: An object of value is coveted by one team, while the other staunchly defends it

Principal Usage: Principals can be out-numbered defenders facing an onslaught, outnumbered thieves using guerrilla tactics, the leaders, the last surviving member of each team, two members who possess the object at different points in the scene in an ‘every man for themselves’ situation, a rescue of a captured team member.


The Hunt

Premise: Members of the fight team are picked off one at a time by a stalker

Principal Usage: The stalker and the final victim, the stalker and the outsider brought in to stop them, the plucky underdog who must fight his way to the boss, the boss who must defeat the plucky underdog’s friends to get to him, a public quarrel between friends creating collateral damage, recapping a sporting tournament with storied rivals, a convict escaping their jailers.


Surprising Elements

At around the 45 second mark in the story, once the premise and style are all established, it’s incumbent on us to keep our audiences engaged. The best way to do this is to surprise them.

Raise The Stakes – the stakes can be raised by a change in status, situation, or character. Alliances change, a key team member is lost, the item changes possession, etc.

Change The Game – one story can easily become another with the right provocation. A battle can become a chase, a hunt can start a team revolution, and more. If you set a rule, here’s where you break it.

The Big Reveal – while we try to avoid dialogue and tell our stories visually, revealing the deeper meaning and significance of a fight can help audiences invest beyond the opening spectacle.



You can use a scene from an existing piece of media in order to copy the relationships and the trajectory of the human drama within it, while stripping it of any copyrighted particulars.

If this has gotten your creative juices flowing, get in touch to share your inspiration.

1 Comment. Leave new

April 15, 2015 1:16 pm

[…] This Blog Post provides stimulus on some of the many stories that can be told through an action sequence […]


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