(Module 2) Conflict? What Conflict?

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 5.41.08 AM

All stories will have a character conflict – it is this conflict that should drive the story. Without the conflict, crisis or forces of antagonism … there would be nothing to engage the audience. ALL STORIES SHOULD HAVE A COMPELLING CONFLICT! Here are examples: 

  1.  Character vs. Character  –  Example: The Dark Knight
  2. Character vs. Nature (characters may face storms, earthquakes, tornados, natural disasters, etc.) Example: Into the Wild
  3. Character vs. Self (internal battles & struggles with one’s feelings, desires, physical or mental limitations, etc.) Example: Falling Down
  4. Character vs. Society (battles with culture, education, politics, race) Example: Hunger Games
  5. Character vs. The Unknown or Character vs. Supernatural (any unknown future, enemy, situation, feelings, etc.) Example: Ghostbusters
  6. Character vs. God/Religion (battles and struggles with one’s understanding and/or relationship to religion, God and/or figures representing religion) Example: Evan Almighty
  7. Character vs. Machine (or technology) – (when humans battle the power of technology and that results in a machine taking on or taking over for man). Example: Ex Machina


**While other conflict categories exist, these are the most prevalent.

This video will highlight five of the seven conflicts listed above:



Barsam, R., & Monahan, D. (2012). Looking at Movies. New York: WW Norton

Boggs, J. M., & Jackson, K. (2008). The art of watching films: A guide to film analysis. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings Pub.7th edition

Docimo, K. (n.d.). Literary Conflict Lesson plan | Conflict in Literature | Man vs Man. Retrieved from http://www.storyboardthat.com/articles/e/types-of-literary-conflict

Kane, M. (2013, November 20). Conflict in Literature. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM5cp_YL77k

Manning Notes – film, and story: “Film Criticism: Gardner-Webb University” (2020).

Donald Miller, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” (2009).

Donald Miller, “Into the Elements” DVD (2012)

Robert McKee, “Story” (2006)

Null, C. (2005). Five stars!: How to become a film critic, the world’s greatest job. San Francisco, CA: Sutro Press.

Blake Snyder, “Save the Cat” (2005)

Stoller, B. M. (2003). Filmmaking for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub.

Winokur, M., & Holsinger, B. W. (2001). The complete idiot’s guide to movies, flicks, and film. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s