The Doc Fix


Regularly updated articles on story structure and analysis; tips, thoughts and useful bits and pieces.

Is a perfect structure essential?

Yes, absolutely. And no, not really. There are many successful programmes that don't necessarily have perfect structure. They are lucky to have some of the other elements that can make a programme a success. Some of these are inherent in the production - amazing access, astonishing events, great characters and timeliness. Some of these are out of your hands - the backing of the channel, great promotion and, of course, good luck.

When I made "The Language Master" I benefited hugely from it being rescheduled from 5:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon on BBC2 to 9:00 pm on a Sunday night, on the same channel. I obviously had worked to make the best film I could, in terms of its story, but that scheduling made all the difference to its success.

But great structure is still always incredibly useful. It is by definition a strong support for your ideas. If you are confident that you have done everything to get that right, you can focus on those other elements (if they are in your control) in the knowledge that everything else is as good as it could be.