Movie: Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush.

Inciting Event: We actually have a quick succession of Inciting Events here, starting with Judy’s promotion to the Zootopia Police Department and her move from her parents’ carrot farm to the city, followed by her first brush with the main conflict of the disappearing predator cases. She then bumps into the main relationship character: the fox Nick Wilde, when she falls victim to his small-time con.

First Plot Point: She bumps the Key Event when she chases down a weasel who apparently stole some moldy onions. In so doing, she causes havoc in Little Rodentia and her boss tries to force her to quit. Instead, she finagles 48 hours to work on the case of the missing Mr. Otterman. The First Plot Point comes a little late here, but this is clearly where Judy fully engages with the main conflict.

First Pinch Point: Judy coerces Nick into helping her, and he and Judy are kidnapped by mobster Mr. Big, who “does not like” Nick. He nearly “ices” them for trespassing in his limo (and for other reasons) when his newlywed daughter recognizes Judy as having saved her earlier during the ruckus in Little Rodentia. Mr. Big then provides the emphasis of the true antagonistic force and the necessary new clues to turn the plot when he reveals that Mr. Otterman was his florist, but he went “savage” and attached the limo driver Mr. Manchas.

Midpoint: Nick and Judy investigate Mr. Manchas, only to have him go savage himself and attack them. They learn from him that the “night howlers” are the cause. Aside from this crucial clue and the first real-time dramatization of the “savage” antagonistic force, the story is also turned by several important Moments of Truth from both Judy and Nick, who have learned to appreciate one another’s talents, despite their previously bigoted opinions.

Second Pinch Point: Nick and Judy track the kidnapped Mr. Manchas to a creepy not-so-abandoned hospital, where they discover that all the missing predators from the past two weeks have gone savage. They catch sight of the mayor Mr. Lionheart, on the premises and have to escape.

Third Plot Point: After engineering the arrest of Mr. Lionheart, Judy loses Nick’s friendship through a casual display of predator prejudice. As the city responds in fear to all predators, she resigns from the force and returns to her parents’ farm.

Climax: After returning to Zootopia to track down the night howlers (which Judy now realizes are poisonous flowers), she and Nick are cornered by the mastermind of the whole scheme—the assistant mayor Ms. Bellwether. She attempts to shoot Nick with the night-crawler serum, only to discover that Judy and Nick swapped out the serum for blueberries in a ploy to catch Bellweather’s confession on tape.

Climactic Moment: Ms. Bellwether is arrested.

Resolution: Nick joins the police force and becomes Judy’s partner.

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

Sign up to receive K.M. Weiland’s e-letter and receive her free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.