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Does Grace Stirs Up Success Pass A Film Story Structure Test?

Warning: this is a film nerd post!


I really need to get back on the Filmmaker Reviews AG Movies train. Meant to do so during winter break, but Joss and Rebelle took over it. In the summer, I'll be stuck in bed recovering from scoliosis surgery, so I'll probably do those posts then since a certain AGSM movie won't be consuming my life anymore...


Anyways, I had no clue what to post about today, but I was in the mood to write something film-nerdy since I was waiting for my editor to download after I accidentally deleted it (long story). So after thinking a bit, I realized something- while other GOTY movies sometimes didn't fit the 'story structure' that all filmmakers have to deal with in order to make a good movie, Grace Stirs Up Success... kinda did! I'll be using what us screenwriters call the 'Save The Cat beat sheet' on Grace's movie, and testing my theory... does it work on Grace's movie like I think so, or not? I'll show the title of the part I'm talking about, an explanation of it for normal people who don't read all the things about film that they can, and how it applies in Grace's movie.


Another warning: there are spoilers for Grace Stirs Up Success! I doubt any of you haven't seen it, though...


Opening Image: Self explanatory. The first peek into the world of the movie.

In Grace's movie, this is the montage of her getting ready and going to her grandparent's bakery. While this is an example of the 'starting movie with waking up' trope, it still shows a bit of Grace's world- just like all the opening montages in the GOTY movies.

Theme: Somewhere in the beginning, the theme, or the main idea, of the movie is shown somewhere.

In Grace's movie, this is when Grace starts baking her scones at her grandparent's bakery. The fact that Grace is good at baking doesn't seem much like of a theme- but when you think of it more as "she's passionate about it, and that helps save the bakery later on", that's when it makes more sense.

Set Up: Another self-explanatory thing. Setting up the premise and characters.

In Grace's movie, this is the segment when Grace starts the New England Cupcakery with Maddy and Ella. We learn that Grace wants to start a baking business someday- and she loves baking! It also sets up her initial goal: making enough money to buy a bike. All seems well, until...

Catalyst: The moment everything changes.

In Grace's movie, this is when she finds out she's going to Paris for the summer.

Debate: The point of no return. The protagonist makes a choice.

In Grace's movie, this is where her goal shifts from "I want to sell cupcakes to get a new bike" to "I want to be good at helping in the patisserie!"

Act II: Leave old situation, enter new one.

In Grace's movie, this can be described in three words: welcome to Paris.

B-Story: The subplot of the movie. Something that happens, but isn't the main focus. For example, the love square in Miraculous Ladybug.

In Grace's movie, this would be her attempts to befriend Sylvie.

Fun and Games: I don't personally like the title of this beat- I like it being called the 'promise of the premise'. If you wanted to see a movie about dogs barking for some reason, this would be when the dogs bark!

In Grace's movie, these are her adventures in Paris. Learning more about baking, helping her Uncle Bernard... and starting to love baking even more.

Midpoint: The middle of the movie. Exactly what it says on the tin.

In Grace's movie, I'd probably say this is when Grace leaves Paris. Her arc there is done, but there's still more things to do in America.

Bad Guys Close In: Darkness is approaching. Not so bad yet, but getting there.

In Grace's movie, there's no 'bad guys' per say, but I think Maddy and Grace's fight would qualify as this, since this is when tension starts to rise.

All Is Lost: Do I even need to elaborate?

This is definitely when Grace finds out her grandparent's bakery is closing. Even a small child could figure that out.

Dark Night Of The Soul: The darkness that lingers before light shines once again.

This is probably when Grace is looking at all the bakery memories. I really like how the writers covered that whole section in just one small part- pretty cool, not gonna lie.

Act III: Hope arrives.

In Grace's movie, this hope arrives in the form of the MasterChef Junior tie in.

Finale: Problems and conflicts are solved, either for better or for worse.

In Grace's movie, this is when she competes on MasterChef Junior and wins, because she's the Girl of the Year. (We all saw that one coming, not gonna lie. I knew it was going to happen when I watched this for the first time on the last day of fourth grade- yes, I'm that old.)

Final Image: This is supposed to be a mirror of the opening image, showing how the world has changed... or not.

In her movie, this is literally Grace eating a macaron. Seems simple, right? Wrong. Said macaron? Was made by the bakery she helped save, by learning how to make French stuff in Paris. A pretty good mirror of her character arc.


The verdict? Jessica O'Toole, Amy Rardin- congratulations. You are smart enough not to dumb down basic story structure just because it's a kid's movie.


Anyways, I hope you guys weren't too bored with my 11 pm waiting for editing software to work post today! Sorry for the lack of, um, actual news, it's just that there's been nothing to blog about lately, so I've had to think outside the box a bit. And for actual filmmakers who are on an American Girl blog just because the blogger posted something about story structure, surprise! I'm a total film geek who happens to love American Girl, so I combined the two together!



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