Tag Archives: YouTube

The Best Lecture on Story Structure Ever

Probably the best lecture I’ve ever seen on story, Kurt Vonnegut lays out the arc of the Hero’s Journey in it’s most elegant form (see video for the joke). In truth, Vonnegut is a hilarious man who knows the craft so well he’s able to entertain and enlighten the audience by poking fun at how obvious stories are. Good story structure doesn’t need much explanation. Stories are simple.

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A wise man once told me that a story is never complex. No matter how deep and complex something may seem, 99 times out of 100 it’s just a series of simple points you’ve experienced since the start of the tale. The art of the craft is making those points tie together in such a way that your story seems complex. And it is, in a way, but not by making each story beat circuitous.

All the rules I’ve ever heard from Vonnegut are pure and simple. Take his eight tips on how to write a good short story:

  1. Use a time of a total stranger in such a way that he/she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character they can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character, or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading character is, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense! Readers should have as such complete understand of what is going on, where and why, that they should be able to complete the story themselves should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
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Duke of Fancy Free Drawing!

Duke contest

Got DUKE OF FANCY swag? Submit a photo of yourself wearing some from the Official RUGBURN store and we’ll send you a personalized sketch from the show’s creators! Tag @DukeofFancy on Facebook, or tweet (@dukeoffancyRB or @JohnDusenberry / @zfkeller) so we know who to contact for your prize.

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Duke of Fancy Update

Over the past few weeks there has been a growing response from fans loving Duke of Fancy! I’d like to thank all of you for your support and as a way of showing thanks, we’re holding a special discount on t-shirts.

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Appropriately named GoldLabel offers shirt, hats, mugs and other apparel at the Duke of Fancy store. Send your money to the world’s richest man in exchange for Duke of Fancy tees, now 15%-off with promo code SWEETTEEZ15 – shop here: http://goldla.be/1bXqmrg

And in case you missed them, don’t forget to watch the latest few episodes of the show:

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Duke of Fancy – How to be Rich (Episode 3)

In this week’s Duke of Fancy episode, we learn the secrets about how to become rich (not as rich as Duke himself, of course–that’s impossible. But kind of rich. Rich like some prince out of the Arabian desert maybe, or Elon Musk rich.)

A change of pace for Duke, Zack and I figured people don’t want to just see the exploits of the world’s richest man, they want to be him; follow in his Bertuli laid footsteps. The first of several 1950s inspired “how to” videos, we learn from the man who knows absolutely nothing about everything!

Credit for part of this episode must also go to the incomparable Kari Casady, who helped on this episode with design, backgrounds and animation.

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Duke of Fancy

I’m super proud to announce that starting next week “Duke of Fancy”, the web series I produce with Zack Keller, will be making it’s grand premiere! The animated series follows the exploits of the richest man in the world who does whatever the  hell he damn well pleases, only to have it backfire in everyone else’s face.

I wanted the show’s visual style to reflect its whimsical yet high brow humor. The solution was the obvious perfect marriage between Ronald Searle and The New Yorker comics. As for the style of animation, having worked on Dick Figures for four seasons and a movie, I learned quickly that poppy pose to pose style can not only be hilarious, but allow for each of these episodes to be animated in about a week. Using puppets, the style is also heavily influenced by Terry Gilliam cartoons from the old british series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

As Zack points out, Duke himself is “in no way, shape or form inspired by his book The Success of Suexliegh … Okay, well, maybe just a little bit.”

Duke of Fancy.

September 17.

Get ready to be greedy.

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