storysteps - narrative script constellations

for writers, directors, producers, actors and film industry professionals



A Narrative Script Constellation (following called NSC) is an extremely useful tool for writers, directors, producers and film industry professionals (even for actor´s role training at a certain point) in any phase of script development. This method is a blend of modern psychological techniques combined with a deep emotional and spiritual experience as the artist in this role creator of his characters gets into direct perception of his creatures.

The NSC offers insight into the script’s quality and weaknesses and provides a creative push that will enhance the material. It will accelerate the development process considerably and save a considerable amount of time, not longer spent in endless discursive script meetings. Other fictional projects such as novels and plays also benefit from this method.

NSC can help determine the future course of the story, which is especially helpful for projects in early stages of development. Its major advantage is that it provides experimentation in almost limitless variation. In this way, you can effectively choose the strongest dynamic that most optimizes the story. In a more advanced stage of script development, we can look at subplots or scenes or the very detailed background and change of a character. A NSC even can cure writer’s block and start the creativity flowing again. Writers, directors or producers can profit with an incredible flow of information.


Narrative Script Constellations have developed from several psychologic, therapeutic and management coaching methods as there are the brief solution focus therapy, hypno-communication, constructivistic systemic thinking and family and organizational constellations work, which at the moment in Europe are  increasingly used in management trainings, change management processes and leadership programs.

In movies it gains more and more influence, the biggest success of this method so far was the Oscar winning German movie „The lives of others“ which was supported and developed by intensive constellations work.

Besides all this structural components NSC has a very strong spiritual note, bringing the client into a very deep emotional contact with the characters in his script. And NSCs are even beneficial for participants without own projects, they are a source of inspiration for one’s own creativity, and a direct, experiential journey into how drama, and to say on a higher human level, how our life is with all our conflicts and decisions.

How it works

The NSC is a Group simulation method, i.e. a procedure based around working with people arranged as symbols representing the elements in the clients system. But to point out it is far away from any acting or any role play. The magic of this method is, that the different energies can be perceived from the representatives in the so called „omniscient field“ astonishingly without anybody of the representatives has read the script before. We are operating within a language we call „transverbal“, that means besides verbal and non-verbal a perceptive communication, we all understand subconscious and very directly.

The art of NSC is to open up and communicate within this „omniscient field“ and to deliver an incredible amount of informations to the client by reading, seeing and listening to this „transverbal language.“

Though NSC can be applied in a one-to-one coaching, the more participants the more energy and the more information fills the room. About 10 to 30 workshop participants would be perfect. The room should have enough space for the represenatives to move and it should be rather quiet. We would need no desks but only chairs in a round. The more or less average time for one script constellation takes about 90 to 120 minutes. So in a day´s course we could handle about 3 - 4 scripts.

A NSC begins with the writer, or client, working out the theme of the constellation. During a little interview we will find out the main questions concerning the script. The client then chooses workshop participants (called representatives) who will represent his story’s characters or also its abstract aspects, such as „courage“, „agression“, „guilt“ or metaphysical aspects like „love“,„justice“, or „spirit“ or even meaningful places and objects like a house, a city, a special mountain or for example an animal. But remember, it is not a role play!

After the representatives are chosen the client physically positions them in the room, creating the field where the energies communicate in their own authentic way. In the course the representatives, based upon their proximity, distance and eye contact to one another, begin to develop physical reactions and feelings. These perceptions uncover „constructed“ emotional networks and help to find genuine motivations and feelings between characters. The representatives show up with impulses, directions, conflicts or a declaration of love, where you wouldn´t  expect and often dialoglike phrases and a truth hard to believe is spoken out.

Working closely with the client, the constellation is constantly modified: representatives are moved, added or dropped and ultimately, the story is allowed to develop. How the representatives move reflects the direction in which the story’s inherent dynamic wants to expand – or spiritually, the character wants to change and find his way.

During the constellation, the client has the unique opportunity to ask the representatives (his own characters) how they feel and what their needs and wants are. Clients might also find it very helpful to step into the character’s place for a little while and physically feel the inner life of their character. This possibility makes NSC a rich source for actors too, for projects in advanced stages of development, constellations can also be useful for them to gain a deeper insight and feeling for their characters.

Some questions we can help you answer:

• Are the characters in the right relationship to one another?

• Is there authentic emotion?

• Is the plot psychologically believable?

• Is a character strong and strong enough in relationship to other characters?

• Is a particular character missing? Or are other characters superfluous?

• At which point in the story is more or less conflict necessary?

• Does the ending work? (Especially for the intended target audience?)

• Does the story connect to my intended audience?

• How do I grab and hold the audience’s attention?

• Examination of individual characters and subplots

• Examination of individual sequences or scenes.

About narrative script constellations and me:

Stephan Michalik and storysteps are living in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

We did some coaching for film and theater directors, writers and designers. Studied Journalism and Community Theater at Catholic University in Eichstätt and Film- and Media Management at the Mibeg Institute in Cologne.

“I was first time using this method for script development in 2004 as a line producer and film production executive at WDR, a German broadcasting company, each day dealing with the decisions to spend money and time for a script or to refuse it. I was looking for a way to reduce time spent in meetings discussing and analysing scripts rationally instead of getting into deeper touch to the story´s soul when I heard from a therapeutic method used in family conflicts. As I was working with a writer on a script about a girl dying of Anorexia and the conflicts there coming deep out of the relations between her parents, I visited a family constellations workshop to understand better the background of the characters and their aggressive and desperate feelings. That was it! I had found a method, that excited me from the first second. From then on, whenever I can use it and I can convince writers, directors and producers to work with that “mystical field“ I do. There is no better way to bring a writer into contact with his creatures.“


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