USING THE STORY GRID METHODOLOGY TO ANALYZE A TWO-MINUTE HORROR FILM WITH STORY GRID CREATOR, SHAWN COYNE.

On Friday, October 13th, 2017, Skittles aired a two-minute commercial/horror film as part of their “bite-size horror” ad campaign. The striking yet stark film perfectly illustrates the core elements of the Story Grid methodology developed by Shawn Coyne, an editor with more than 25 years of experience in the publishing industry.

Communication has never been a more important skill necessary for making sense of a complex world. Here, you can discover how to recognize and implement the “Five Commandments of Storytelling” that can be used in everything from novels to office presentations. The film is two minutes long and the subsequent discussion between J. and Shawn is just under 40 minutes in length. Learn from this FREE Story Grid lesson by completing the following steps:

1. Watch “Floor 9.5” by Toby Meakins and Simon Allen.

2. Answer the four basic questions and identify the Five Commandments of Storytelling.

3. Listen to the Story Grid analysis featuring Shawn and J.


“Floor 9.5” – Written by Simon Allen, Directed by Toby Meakins, Starring Georgina Campbell.


Answer four basic questions about the scene:

  1. What are the characters literally doing?
  2. What is the essential action of the characters?
  3. What life value has changed for one or more characters in the scene? (ignore for now if you are new to Story Grid)
  4. What value should I put on my Story Grid spreadsheet? (ignore for now if you are new to Story Grid)

Identify the Five Commandments of Storytelling:

  1. What is the inciting incident? When does the character’s situation irreversibly change?
  2. What is the progressive complication? Now that the situation has changed, how has it gotten more complicated?
  3. What is the crisis? What choice must the character make? Is he or she faced with an “irreconcilable good” or a “best bad choice” option?
  4. What is the climax? What is the consequence of the crisis decision? What happened to the character after making the choice?
  5. What is the resolution? What is the new character’s “new normal?”

Listen to the Story Grid analysis featuring Shawn and J.:

Click here to download the full transcript
*Audio stream from Episode 93 of “The Intronaut – A Podcast for Introverts” published by Blog Talk Radio.

About “Floor 9.5”

“It had to be all about tone and atmosphere rather than creating jump scares. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good jump scare, but if you can chill someone to the bone, the film tends to stay with the audience. We also wanted it to feel contemporary, like a two-minute Black Mirror, to create a situation that anyone could imagine themselves in and then twist it.”

-Toby Meakins

Read more…


Questions? Check out J.’s Story Grid services here or use the form below to get in touch.