Learning Applications

When to apply this structure:

A good clue to using this narrative structure is when a storyline has a strong, active hero with a clear goal and a significant obstacle. Complications generally arise when working to eliminate the obstacle, but the obstacle and goal are obvious and easily identified. The Classic Hollywood Structure is well-suited to adventurous short stories, scripts, and video projects. The structure is also a good one to consider when writing stories and producing digital stories about personal or community courage against great odds.

Instructional applications:

Because this structure is simple and familiar, it allows students quick access. In the classroom this style can facilitate:

  • Reflection on one's own challenges and accomplishments
  • Discussion of students’ goals and obstacles and how to overcome them
  • Discussion of problem-solving techniques
  • Discussion about the importance of friendships when striving for goals and overcoming obstacles
Stages

The simplicity of this narrative structure means if the storyline does not include these four stages, then it is not Hollywood Structure. This structure never varies.
1. Hero
Introduce and establish a protagonist—the main character who is usually the hero. Identify...
Example

In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Professor Indiana Jones, archeologist and adventurer, races to find the Ark of the Covenant thought to be buried beneath the lost city of Tannis during biblical times. The Nazis are the central obstacle. They are also trying to locate the Ark for the...

Learning Applications

When to apply this structure:
A good clue to using this narrative structure is when a storyline has a strong, active hero with a clear goal and a significant obstacle. Complications generally arise when working to eliminate the obstacle, but the obstacle and goal are obvious and...