I'm on a mission. Can you guess what it is by the title? Although it has to do with filmmaking, the first step is more important. Like building a cathedral or a car or anything, I believe (as an architectural technologist by formal training) you're more likely to succeed with a set of plans on paper. And the same goes with filmmaking. As much as I'd love to setup my camera and start practicing Spielberg "oner's" (he's known for doing beautiful long, single shots) or any multitude of shot techniques, I know deep down that I need a plan. That plan: a story. Obvious I guess. And as simple as "story" may be to some of you, it eludes the shit out of me. I don't know why, but I can't quite get my head around it entirely. I watched Jaws the other day, partially to study camera techniques but also for story. Here's what I understand the story being generally (spoiler alert--this is an amazing movie even by today's standards, and if you haven't seen it, or haven't seen it in a while, watch it first before reading on.... unless you don't care about spoiling): A group of men try to kill a human eating shark as vengeance for it's recent killing of several tourists. As far as I know, a story requires a conflict and resolution as it's very basic elements. (And please correct or argue any of my points if you think otherwise--that's what I'm looking for from you.) Assuming that's true, Jaws succeeds as a story because the conflict--shark eats tourists, thus affecting the much reliant upon tourism industry in the small costal town--is resolved when, alas, the hero of our story--the town's chief of police no less--blows the shark up by firing a bullet at an oxygen tank. Dramatic and suspenseful because we weren't sure if the hero would survive until the very last possible moment. Now that's all great, and it seems easy to write something like that. Find a conflict, find a hero, put him in several predicaments as he tries to resolve the conflict, have him resolve the conflict just when you think he can't/won't be able to/last second. But there's so much more to it. And this is what confuses me. If the story was as simple as I just explained it, it would last 5 minutes--it would basically be just the man fighting the beast and winning. But, and here's where my confusion sets in, there's so much build up that seems unnecessary but for reasons I"m confused about, add to the story. For example, in the film, there's a lot of "character development" (wtf is that and why did I just write it lol?). Why? Why should we see close ups of people's faces as they talk on the phone? What does that add? My guess is that what it does is tries to create a sense of unity--empathy--for the character. Perhaps by showing the audience that this person is like us--angry, sad, horny, hungry, tired, annoyed, etc--that we are able to put ourselves in their shoes and therefore become more interested in their struggle. Is that it? I'm confused. I don't want to start writing a story until I know these basics again. What do you think? Am I off here?