Narrative, Storytelling — January 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Conflict Aids Storytelling

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In the Adirondacks, independent businesses like the Palace Theater in Lake Placid are trying to fund the costly, mandatory switch to digital technology.  Credit: New York Times
In the Adirondacks, independent businesses like the Palace Theater in Lake Placid are trying to fund the costly, mandatory switch to digital technology. Credit: New York Times

Good storytellers use conflict to narrate a story.

Take the case of the Lake Placid, NY.  movie house fighting for its survival. The 87-year-old Palace must spend about $65,000 to alter each of the theater’s four screens to accommodate new digital projection equipment. Absent the money, the playhouse will close.

The conflict about this small theater’s possible closure adds an element of tension to the story. The storyteller can use this tension to help narrate the story. Tension or conflict helps move the story forward. Readers keep reading to find out what is going happen. Will this small business be saved? Or will it perish?

“People come in and say, ‘You can’t let this go dark,’ ” said Reginald Clark, 84, who owns the theater with his wife, Barbara, told the New York Times.

There is also a larger story here. This story has what master storytellers call “scope.”

The implications of the shift from 35-millimeter film to digital affects many theaters in upstate New York.

Many movie houses are faced with the possibility of closing if they can’t come up with the money to switch to digital. The theatres are a source of entertainment, civic pride and employment in an area where mall-type multiplexes are more than an hour’s drive away.

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