From the first shots of Whiplash and Black Swan, we see the protagonists immersed in their respective disciplines. Andrew Naiman practicing the drums, Nina Sayers dreaming of dancing the White Swan. Both of these films bring us behind the scenes of a world most people never get to see. Both were relatively low budget, leaned heavily on their scripts, and led to Oscar wins for great performances. But most importantly, both of these films tell the tale of an artist seeking greatness who must first endure suffering and sacrifice. But how do they tell this story? There are plenty of variations between them, jazz drummer and ballerina, gender expectations, style, which give each film a unique personality. But, today I want to focus on the structural similarities, to examine the elements used to tell the story of the obsessed performer and how their arrangement determine the fate of Nina and Andrew.
Act 1: Inciting Incident, Desire, and Dramatic…show more content… In doing so, they each each express their own variation on the theme of sacrificing for your art. Black Swan tells the story of a young woman who sacrifices everything to achieve one, fleeting moment of absolute perfection suggesting “absolute perfection requires absolute sacrifice.” Whiplash tells the story of a young man who endures intense physical and emotional abuse from a mentor but manages to grow from the experience, and in the end becomes “...the next Buddy Rich, the next Charlie Parker —Fletcher’s only Charlie Parker…” Which raises the questions: do the ends justify the means? Is it true that “There are no two words more harmful in the English language that ‘good job.’” Comparing stories can reveal the common elements of structure, and the different ways those elements can be used. In this case, we see the obstacle that faces the obsessed performer, and how they were arranged to tell the stories of Whiplash and Black