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Obsessed Artist

The Anatomy of the Obsessed Artist Story

Storyteller OS users: Clip this video into your Knowledge Base and categorize it under Plot + Structure

In this video, Lessons from the Screenplay breaks down the structural similarities between the films Whiplash and Black Swan, both of which tell the story of an artist seeking greatness who must first endure suffering and sacrifice. The video analyzes the elements used to tell the story of the obsessed performer and how their arrangement determines the fate of the protagonist. Through examining the common elements of structure, the video reveals the different ways those elements can be used to express variations on the theme of sacrificing for one's art.

Character Arc
Inciting Incident
Plot + Structure


  • The protagonist must face many challenges and make many sacrifices along their journey towards greatness.
  • The inciting incident creates a desire for the protagonist and sets them on the path to change.
  • The protagonist must destroy their old selves in their descent into madness.
  • The protagonist's transformation involves destroying their old selves completely.
  • The audience only cares about the protagonist's desires if there's something at stake.
  • To understand the protagonist's desires, their fears must also be established.
  • The threat of being replaced adds pressure and pushes the protagonist to the descent into madness.
  • Seeing the after-effects of someone else who had descended into madness is what stops the protagonist's descent into madness.