Arts & Entertainment

Developing a Season Arc

The Duffer Brothers

Lesson time 10:31 min

After you have settled on a series idea, an important next step is building a season arc. Matt and Ross share how they ideated an arc for "Stranger Things" and how the character arcs converge into the overarching story.

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Topics include: Discover The Arc That Works With Your Story • One Season At A Time • Stay Zoomed Out • Assignment Build Your Foundation


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So hopefully as you're doing your blue skying, you're working on your characters, you're working on some setting, stuff is starting to become a little bit more into focus. And we did talk about how your characters go from A to B, especially your most important characters. They have a little arc from A to B. What we haven't talked about as much is a story arc 'cause your story arc is also going to want to go from A to B. Now if you have a very sort of simple drive to your story as we did in "Stranger Things," which is Will's missing. We have to find Will. So all of our characters in season one have the same drive, which is to find Will. Hopper had it, the kids had it, the teens have it, which and those are sort of what we talk about as are each of those is a different generation, a generational storyline, which is one of the early ideas we had that we were excited about. And they all have the same drive, which was really helpful on season one, and it helped really unite the season. So we know that everyone's going to go from A, which is Will disappears and this thing happens and changes their lives. B, we're going to find Will, right. So we know that, which is great. But within each of those storylines, they're going to have sort of an individual arc for how they get from A to B. And as we were developing this season-- and it's even in our pitch to Netflix where we talk about each of these generations and we talk very broadly about their story arcs as in they start here on A and they go to here on B. We did not have a lot of detail about that journey from A to B. We put in a few ideas, a few ideas we had, but we didn't put a lot because what all we wanted to communicate-- and all that was really important is we knew where their starting point was, which is in the pilot, and where their destination was. If you don't know their destination, it's going to be challenging because you don't know what to set up at their starting point. So you really do need to try to, if you can, have at least a broad sense of where you want them to go. [MUSIC PLAYING] - You know, obviously so we have this big story arc, but one thing we found when we were blue skying is that we wanted to have three groups of characters, right. We wanted to have kids, we wanted to have teens, we want to have adults, and that each of them was going to have their own little mini arc within the big arc, the big arc being find Will. So they would each be kind of-- they would each be moving towards that goal but in very different ways. And it was like, since they all have the same drive, how do we differentiate them, right? Like, it was like how do we-- they all have the same goal. How is that going to go? Find Will? Aren't they just going to be colliding and overlapping the whole time? We're like, OK, so it's just we thought about as one big puzzle, and they're each going to be solving one big piece of the puzzle that's necessary t...

About the Instructor

Before they turned our world upside down with "Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer honed their scare tactics on Wayward Pines and their debut thriller, Hidden. Now, the acclaimed showrunners reveal the dark science of creating a monster hit. Craft gripping story arcs, conjure unforgettable characters—like Eleven or Jim Hopper—and turn your raw idea into a pitch for the next big thing to cross over from the other side.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

The Duffer Brothers

Matt and Ross Duffer—the "Stranger Things" masterminds—teach you how they plotted the series from beginning to end, and how you can bring your own idea to life.

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