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How we break down our attractions into beats (a scene-by-scene breakdown of a story). Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

So far in this lesson, you've created a high concept idea that fits into the theme of your land. Now, we need to come up with a story that we really want to tell. A ride that has a bunch of effects and gags might be interesting but at Imagineering we want to go deeper than that. That's because we understand that to really make a ride memorable and to really connect with our guests emotionally, it's important to understand what story we're trying to tell with a ride. Crafting that story is what we'll talk about next. Every story has a shape or structure that we refer to as a story arc. It's a sequence of events that sets the audience up for the story and how it will be told. It takes some through some unexpected ups and downs twists and turns and ultimately finishes with a surprising, emotional, and meaningful resolution at the end. A story arc is that continuing narrative that informs your overall story. It is the structure for which you tell your story so that your guests can experience the attraction and the way that you intended. And in order to do that you have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And so our rides are short stories, most of them are you know three to five minutes. And similar to theater, you have your set up. When you go into a ride you want to understand who you are and what you're going into and where you're going. And then you have your experience. Like any good story, there is conflict and there is change. Maybe something goes terribly wrong, which you'll see it a lot of theme park attractions intentionally because that's a great a great plot point that you can use to quickly advance a story. I mean you have your payoff. And then we want to have the great resolution at the end and quickly you've gone into your four minutes, so an arc in a theme park is different than our connect additional film in that you have so such a small amount of time to tell your story. Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai is a typical example of a story arc. In the very beginning you're introduced to the characters, you see Jack Sparrow, you then go into his world, all the sudden you know you're searching for gold, there's you know Davy Jones - he's not happy about it - we now have to escape. There's a big battle. There's a fight at the end and we almost get to go but not quite. That's a great story arc and that's exactly what you experienced when you're riding the ride. Once we have a story arc for a ride that we like we capture that flow with something we refer to by various names like a beat sheet, a beat board, or a story board they're really all the same thing. It's a scene-by-scene breakdown for the whole experience before, during and after the ride. For example, let's take a look at the mystic Manor attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland, where you experience the beautiful and enchanted collectibles of Lord Henry Mystic. Lord Henry Mystic has exquisite items from all over the world and he and his monkey, Albert, show you a particularly special music box that he has brought back but it's enchanted. And when Albert opens that everything is brought to life. You see how some of these objects take on lives of their own. Albert must close the music box and restore order to the manor before Lord Mystic finds out. Beat sheets also called story boards are a way to put small thumbnails up - sort of in order - that are telling the story of your experience and they'll start at the beginning and go all the way to the end. And you don't need many of them, but they hit sort of highlights or the beats that you want to be telling in your attraction. So I can't emphasize enough that you want to be - keep it simple. There's elegance in simplicity. So it's a really good way for you to do kind of a snapshot of what this experience is going to be about, without you going into any lengthy type of writing. And it's great, especially doing little index cards and pin them up which is the way we typically do it because, then if you change things around you just take a card off or move a card in a different order and it makes it easy to to sort of retell how you want to tell your story. And we juggle them around and move scenes, and modify, and iterate until we have something that really resonates with the team. As you can see getting to an emotional and fun story is a process. Usually the most effective stories are ones that are streamlined and easy to understand. And using a beat sheet will help you to break down your story to clarify and understand your ideas. In the next exercise, you'll have a chance to come up with a beat sheet for your own ride.