TCU's 2015 football season was nothing short of spectacular -- some might even call it, "cinematic."
Turning the 2015 season into a movie isn't a far-fetched idea, if you think about it. The narrative practically writes itself and, interestingly enough, fits well with Shakespearean dramatic structure.
Dramatic structure has five main parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement (or resolution).
How does it all tie in? Let's throw in moments of TCU's 2015 season into Shakespeare's dramatic structure and see how the Horned Frogs' story may play out on the big screen.
The exposition is the introduction. We meet our characters in their "current state of life," so to speak. We also meet our hero, who could very well be anybody on the team. In this instance, let's just say our hero is Bram Kohlhausen.
Opening Scene: The screen is black. All we hear are muffled sounds of commentators announcing big plays of the 2014 Peach Bowl. Soon, the muffled sounds gradually become clear. They mix with the sounds of a roaring crowd. The crowd grows louder, and we fade into a scene of confetti falling in slow motion.
It's a point of view shot of our hero, Bram, who is looking up as confetti falls on his face. Cut to a shot of Bram himself, standing there, taking in the moment.
He then looks over to see the offensive MVP, his teammate Trevone Boykin, or "Tre" as Bram calls him. We establish that Bram has always played second fiddle to the star, but Bram is okay with it. We also establish a close friendship between Bram and Tre, which will play a central role in the film.
Current State: Frogs are on top of the world and begin the 2015 season with high expectations. At some point, we are also introduced to Bram's father, who has cancer.
Conflict: As we close the exposition, we are introduced to the conflict. We find out what the hero wants. In this case, Bram wants what the rest of the team wants for the 2015 season: a playoff berth and a shot at the championship.
Following the exposition is the rising action. The rising action shows what the hero does in order to achieve his goal.
Scenes: At this point of the film, we get scenes of practice, scenes in the weight room, etc. We also get the exciting stuff -- the Texas Tech miracle game, the Abby Faber moment at Iowa State, etc. Despite the heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma State, the Frogs are rolling with Tre. Bram is just enjoying the ride.
The climax is the moment when everything changes. Obstacles come into play that work against our hero.
Scenes: The moment that changes everything happens in the Frogs' game against Kansas. Tre is injured, and Bram takes his friend's place on the field. Bram's play is less than spectacular, and he's eventually replaced by Foster Sawyer. The Frogs still win, but it's a tough moment for the team. Morale begins to change.
The falling action is the "beginning of the end." The hero (Bram) and the antagonist (life, basically) begin to battle.
Scenes: The Frogs are hobbling through the rest of the season. Bram misses a two-point conversion against Oklahoma for the Frogs' second loss, destroying all playoff hopes. On top of everything, Bram loses his father to cancer.
At this point, things seem to be falling apart for our hero and his team.
The "Pick Me Up": A typical element of this story structure involves the hero seeing the light in adversity. Although the hero seems to be losing to his antagonist, something happens to lift our hero's spirits and inspire him to fight on.
In this case, it's the Baylor game. TCU beat its arch rival in double overtime. Boykin is healthy again, and the Frogs charge happily into the Alamo Bowl.
The denouement, or conclusion, is the grand finale. It starts with a gut punch to our "pick me up," followed by the final battle.
Unexpected Obstacle: Just as momentum begins to pick up again for our hero, we get a gut punch -- Tre's arrest and suspension. All of a sudden, Bram loses his friend and instantly becomes the new starter.
Final Battle: Here it is. The moment of truth. The film plays out its final battle at the Alamo Bowl. And, much like every other film's final battle, it begins with our hero losing. And Bram is losing big, 31-0 at halftime. It seems all is lost.
Then, Gary Patterson tells Bram to think of his father, watching the game unfold and hoping his son would make him proud. Bram finds the motivation to keep going.
And the second half begins. Touchdown after touchdown follows against Oregon's tired defense. The Frogs are doing it.
And the Frogs win.
Bram's brother bribes an Oregon fan with $100 to get a sideline pass, and Bram's mother is allowed onto the field. Bram and his mom wrap up in a hug as tears stream down their faces.
As the Frogs hoist their Alamo Bowl trophy, Bram finds himself standing where Tre was a year ago. But this time, Bram is holding an MVP trophy of his own. Bram tells the reporter he played the game for Tre. We get a glimpse of Bram's wristband, which has the initials "TB."
Closing Scene: As the film comes to a close, we recreate a moment from our opening scene, but backwards. Bram looks up, as balloons begin to drop from overhead. Cut to a POV shot of Bram watching as colorful balloons float to the ground below.
(Imagine the scene looking a little something like this.)
#AlamoBowl Trophy presentation and BALLOON DROP! #GOFROGS! @valeroalamobowl @TCU_Athletics pic.twitter.com/PwvkxFXsj4— interface7 (@interface7) January 3, 2016
Bram closes his eyes to take in the moment, and so do we. The screen fades to black. The sound of cheering fans crescendos, then fades away.
And there you have it. The story is a bit formulaic, certainly, but it's a formula that works. And TCU's 2015 season fits the formula so well. I think studios should give this movie a shot.
The real question is, who's going to play Gary?