The Bear is the hot show that’s getting Hulu a ton of new subscribers. Deservedly so. Is it perfect? No, especially the first few episodes, but it hits its stride, and the season ends with great emotion as you cheer for these characters.

You can get a free month on Hulu and watch it that way, or you can subscribe for only $6.99/month. It’s cheaper than an MFA. Watch it for enjoyment once, and then watch it again, like I did, to study the fundamentals of good storytelling.

(For the record there’s other great programming on Hulu. No, I’m not getting a commission.)

Storytelling Tips from The Bear:

  • Emotion is woven in slowly

  • Each character has a distinct personality and character arc

  • Each character has his/her own goal

  • Every important event is foreshadowed early in the story

  • Everything is NOT explained in the first episode - there are enough questions to keep you going

  • Every small item that comes up in the story, even if it doesn’t seem important at the time, is used later in the story

  • A few words can be the most impactful

  • There is conflict in every episode

  • There are peaks and valleys in the emotion

  • All the characters change in the course of the story

  • The importance of setting: The kitchen is its own character; its size and how it feels chaotic and claustrophobic. And it is set in Chicago. We Chicagoans love those scenes, which serve to ground the story in the grittiness of the city.

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