Duel is one of Steven Spielberg’s first movies.
The main character, salesman David Mann, drives a small red car through a desolate landscape. It’s hot.
He comes to drive behind a huge, brown truck. He overtakes it.
Moments later, he sees in his rearview mirror that the truck is tailgating. Mann waves and lets him pass.
The truck cuts him off. But after that, it seems like nothing happened.
Mann stops to refuel. The truck stops as well. Mann drives on and again, the truck tailgates. Even when Mann accelerates and reaches high speed.
For a moment, Mann manages to shake off the truck. But the menacing metal monster keeps appearing. It becomes increasingly clear what it wants: to kill Mann.
At the end of the duel – spoiler alert – the two vehicles face each other on a dead end. The truck approaches Mann. Mann locks the accelerator with his briefcase and jumps out of the car.
After a collision, the truck rolls into a canyon.
As a viewer, you feel nothing but relief.
Duel is simple, but pure storytelling.
We get to know a main character with whom we identify. That main character has a problem. And in the end, that problem is overcome.
If you look closely, you can see this structure in many films.
And you can also use it to make communication about your work more interesting. Though that may sound farfetched.