A Practical Guide To Building A Story World by Houston Howard

Film Courage: Let’s suppose we’re doing a workshop right here today “Building a story world.”  How would we begin?

Houston Howard, Transmedia Author/Instructor: In terms of story worlds we need to separate stories from story worlds. Story worlds are places and stories are things that happen in those places and what I found is a lot of people don’t understand what a story world is.

Some people say My story world is a my character’s coming-of-age sexuality or whatever. That’s not a story world, that’s a character arc. A story world is literally a geographical place. We understand the story of Lord of the Rings and Frodo and The Ring and the journey to destroy the ring. But the story world is middle earth.

Neo’s story in The Matrix is about his adventure with Morpheus and taking down The Matrix and against all the machines and Agent Smith and all that stuff.

But the story world of The Matrix is a futuristic earth that has been taken over by machines and they use people as batteries in the VR environment.

Story worlds are places and that’s what you have to understand but it’s not just any place. It’s any place that is interesting. It has to be interesting by itself.

And so most people when they develop content, when they develop scripts or TV or features or books the most interesting things they have are their characters and their plots and then they relegate story world to…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Special thanks to The LA Film School for allowing us to film this video interview on their campus.

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