He began doodling the circles in the late ’90s, while stuck on a screenplay. He wanted to codify the storytelling process—to find the hidden structure powering the movies and TV shows, even songs, he’d been absorbing since he was a kid. “I was thinking, there must be some symmetry to this,” he says of how stories are told. “Some simplicity.”Harmon has a visual for this embryo, where a character goes through a series of phases:
I thought this sounded very similar to the scientific method (this is the visual I use in most of my classes):
But how can I make that link more explicit? Here is step 1:
- Zone of comfort = information
- You want something = question
- Unfamiliar situation = hypothesis that could explain the question
- Adapt to it = a prediction based on the hypothesis
- Get what they want = test of the prediction
- Pay heavy price = hypothesis not supported (or if you are lucky, supported)
- Return to familiar situation, but changed = information increase
Even the tools to develop the plots are similar to my tools: the whiteboard.
But somehow I don't think I would make it in Hollywood?