Tag Archives: narrative

Satana Ex Machina

Satana Ex Machina

A couple of years ago when I was developing a game concept for a big brand, I came up with the idea of a satana ex machina.  While a deus ex machina provides a solution to resolve a conflict, the satana ex machina would provide the initial problem of a story.

Of course, a deus ex machina is a weak narrative element and its counterpart probably wouldn’t be any better since these figures are completely removed from the story and don’t have any stakes in resolving or creating conflict.  Still in all, I found the idea of an infernal imp creating havoc for the protagonist intriguing.  And I think that a satana can be more palatable than a deus since the audience wants to see the protagonist solve a conflict, but the source of the conflict isn’t as important to understand.

But a villain whose motivations is understood is always meatier.

Goodnight, Mr. Schwarz

Goodnight, Mr. Schwarz

I am very saddened to learn that Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch, has passed away.  I’m a huge fan of the series and have learned a great deal about narrative and production from his work.  While the plots in The Brady Bunch seem simplistic, their treatment is masterfully accomplished.  I’ve used episodes as examples of storytelling conventions.

The original Art Director on the Nancy Drew series, Laura Henion, was also a big fan of Schwartz’s work and she put a recurring statue of the Brady’s horse statue as an homage to the show.  I like to think that my work on the Nancy Drew series is an homage to the great narrative master.