(Ch. 1) Conflict? What Conflict?

All stories will have a character conflict – it is this conflict that should drive the story. Here are examples: 

  1.  Character vs. Character  –  Example: The Dark Knight
  2. Character vs. Nature (characters may face storms, earthquakes, tornados, natural into-the-wild-1disasters, etc.) Example: Into the Wild
  3. Character vs. Self (internal battles & struggles with one’s feelings, desires, physical or mental limitations, etc.) Example: Falling Down
  4. Character vs. Society (battles with culture, education, politics, race) Example: Hunger Games
  5. Character vs. The Unknown or Character vs. Supernatural (any unknown future, enemy, situation, feelings, etc.) Example: Ghostbusters
  6. Character vs. God/Religion (battles and struggles with one’s understanding and/or 3-falling-downrelationship to religion, God and/or figures representing religion) Example: Evan Almighty
  7. Character vs. Machine (or technology) – (when humans battle the power of technology and that results in a machine taking on or taking over for man). Example: Ex Machina

**While other conflict categories exist, these are the most prevalent.



Barsam, R., & Monahan, D. (2012). Looking at Movies. New York: WW Norton

Boggs, J. M., & Jackson, K. (2008). The art of watching films: A guide to film analysis. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings Pub.7th edition

Docimo, K. (n.d.). Literary Conflict Lesson plan | Conflict in Literature | Man vs Man. Retrieved from http://www.storyboardthat.com/articles/e/types-of-literary-conflict

Manning Notes – film, and story: “Film Criticism: Gardner-Webb University” (2018).

Donald Miller, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” (2009).

Donald Miller, “Into the Elements” DVD (2012)

Robert McKee, “Story” (2006)

Null, C. (2005). Five stars!: How to become a film critic, the world’s greatest job. San Francisco, CA: Sutro Press.

Blake Snyder, “Save the Cat” (2005)

Stoller, B. M. (2003). Filmmaking for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub.

Winokur, M., & Holsinger, B. W. (2001). The complete idiot’s guide to movies, flicks, and film. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books.





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