The “Debate” Beat

If the Quest for Sustainable Energy is a screenplay, we’re stuck in the “Debate” beat, between pages 12 and 25.

chat Posted Mar 05, 2015 by Rezwan | Category : Obstacles Narrative
Comment Below

Why are we all ignoring the Call to Action?

The Call to Action has been issued.  We’ve all heard it.  We know the climate is headed for a meltdown. We know people are suffering needlessly without adequate energy and resources.  We know we’re burning through fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow.  We know urgent action is required. 

We also know we have the resources to do something about it. We have more wealth and knowledge now than at any time in history! 

And yet we dither. 

What’s going on? 

Scholars say that the problem we are facing is “beyond Super Wicked”, and that the human brain is wired to ignore it

Screenplay writers have a simpler explanation.

If the quest for sustainability is a movie, we’re in the “Debate” beat.  Per Blake Snyder in the quintessential screenplay guide, “Save the Cat”:

This is a section of the script, between pages 12 and 25 that used to really baffle me.  When the telegram comes on page 12 informing me that my sister is being held by pirates, I know what I have to do!  So why do I, the writer, have to vamp to the Act Break until my hero does what he’s supposed to? 

The debate section is just that – a debate.  It’s the last chance for the hero to say:  This is crazy.  And we need him or her to realize that.  Should I go?  Dare I go?  Sure, it’s dangerous out there, but what’s my choice?  Stay here? (Snyder, p. 77)

Follow @SaveTheCat on twitter.

Back to the improvised, live action Energy Screenplay in Progress

There it is. We’ve received the call to action.  Numerous calls to action.  And yet we sit.

We have a vision of what we want: a marvelous quality of life for ten billion people with zero carbon footprint

We know we have to bring a powerful, clean, safe energy supply online to cool down the atmosphere, invigorate the economy and save millions of lives.  We know we have to phase out the fossil sauce.

But there is no way around the debate beat, nor should there be.  The only way out is through.

Action: There is a lot of noise in this area, and a lot of relationship building that needs to happen.  Host a Living Room Conversation to start working through the debate. They have an “Energy Conversation” pack!

The Energy Cinderella Project is an attempt to systematically work through the Debate beat. 

The Race to be the first net zero carbon state invites a process for each state to work through the debate and come up with unique action plans that reflect the collective character of that state.

Coming soon: a list of the debate points that are blocking our progress.


What? Not so fast. First:

Notes & Related:

Story Structure

Source of cool placeholder infographic: J. Heer

Plot points:

0.  Set up
1.  Call to Action
2.  Debate
3.  B Story
4.  Fun and Games
5.  Bad guys close in
6.  All is lost
7.  Dark night of the soul
8.  Finale

9.  Sequel: Sustainability ensues. Proliferation of post sustainability stories.

Character Arc

Who are you in this story? 
*  Hero
*  Buddy
*  Antagonist
Threshold Guardian
*  Shapeshifter
*  MacGuffin
*  Comic Relief
*  Wise Old Person
*  Bitter progress thwarter in need of redemption

You Saw a Fire
Start Here

Comments chat

comments powered by Disqus