Storyform for Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga


I was watching the new Netflix film Eurovision Song Contest: the Story of Fire Saga, and felt like the story form was really clear, so I had a go at putting it together.

Basic story is that the main character Lars (Will Ferrell) has a lifelong dream of winning the Eurovision song contest, an idea that he has put above everything else in his life, especially acknowledging the love of, and his love for, his singing partner Sigrit (Rachel McAdams). Sigrit knows what she wants, a nice life with Lars in the town she loves, but is constantly being told by people that she should have other dreams - her mother tells her Lars isn’t good enough for her, and Lars tells her how important it is for them to win Eurovision.



MC RESOLVE: Change - Lars adopts Sigrit’s point of view

MC GROWTH: Stop - Lars stops chasing a dream when he realises everything that makes him happy he already has - he plays Sigrit’s song at the end knowing they’ll be disqualified



IC RESOLVE: Steadfast


DRIVER: Action

LIMIT: Optionlock

OUTCOME: Failure (updated - it’s a personal triumph story)




DOMAIN: Situation - Lars is stuck in his small, remote village with big dreams

CONCERN: The Future - Lars is convinced winning the Eurovision song contest will fulfil him

ISSUE: Delay - Lars’ issues would be solved if he stopped putting off a commitment to Sigrit

PROBLEM: Avoidance - Lars’ problem is that he is putting off a commitment to Sigrit

SOLUTION: Pursuit - Lars solves his problems by finally pursuing Sigrit at the end






(The Relationship)

DOMAIN: Manipulation

CONCERN: Changing One’s Nature

ISSUE: Commitment - committing to each other

PROBLEM: Avoidance - updated - putting the contest ahead of the relationship’s positive development

SOLUTION: Pursuit - updated

SYMPTOM: Disbelief - updated

RESPONSE: Support - updated

CATALYST: Rationalization


BENCHMARK: Playing a Role


(Iceland winning Eurovision - updated)

DOMAIN: Activity - songs and sabotage

CONCERN: Obtaining - winning the contest

ISSUE: Self Interest - Victor trying to sabotage Iceland’s chances, the committee’s desire to win making them rude

PROBLEM: Avoidance


SYMPTOM: Uncontrolled


CATALYST: Approach

INHIBITOR: Obligation




DOMAIN: Fixed Attitude

CONCERN: Innermost Desires - driven by her love for Lars

ISSUE: Hope - hopes that once the Eurovision attempt is over, she will be with Lars. Her requests to the elves are all about her hopes.

PROBLEM: Feeling - she gets caught up in Lars’ dreams, having fun etc

SOLUTION: Logic - At her core she knows she has what she wants

SYMPTOM: Uncontrolled



CRITICAL FLAW: Preconception

The final song is kind of a summary of the whole storyform to me:

All by myself

With this great big world before me

But it’s all for someone else (OS Concern Obtaining/MC Concern Future)

I’ve tried and tried again (IC Issue Hope)

To let you know just where my heart is (IC Problem Feeling)

To tell the truth and not pretend (IC Resolve Steadfast)

All I needed was to get away

Just to realise that I was meant to stay (IC Resolve Steadfast/IC Solution Logic)

Where the mountains sing through the screams of seagulls

Where the whales can live 'cause they’re gentle people

In my hometown, my hometown

Thought I made it clear, do I have to say it? (IC Resolve Steadfast)

It was always there, we just didn’t see it (IC Resolve Steadfast/IC Solution Logic)

All I need is you and me and my home (IC Resolve Steadfast)

You want the world ( Want the world ) (MC Concern Future)

All the neon lights and billboards (MC Concern Future)

To be seen and to be heard ( Heard ) (MC Concern Future)

And I followed you ( Oh-ooh ) (IC Concern Innermost Desires)

But now I know what makes me happy (IC Resolve Steadfast)

And I can tell you feel it too (MC Resolve Change/RS Solution)

Anyone who has seen it please give me your thoughts! I know people usually love or hate Will Ferrell movies, not much in-between haha


Nice job @cysto. I saw this movie about a month ago, unfortunately I missed a big chunk of the middle, but when I finally sat down to watch it I was surprised by how good it was. By the end, I was convinced it had a storyform for sure.

Definitely has the same vibe as Pitch Perfect so similarity of storyform but with MC & IC flipped makes total sense.

The only thing I would question is the Outcome. What do you think the Goal was? If it was to win the contest, they were actually disqualified but didn’t really care about it at that point. So it could be a Failure/Good personal triumph.

On the other hand, perhaps the Goal was to make a good showing for Iceland – definitely Success in that case.

Having missed a lot of it, I wonder why the critical reception was fairly mixed. It would be interesting if Dramatica could point to something (like maybe some missing signposts or something). Or maybe some people just couldn’t get into how silly it was.

My favorite thing was the elves… :slight_smile:


Thanks for that. I think you are right, I was just taking the feeling of it, because even the Icelandic committee, townsfolk are happy. A “virtuous failure”. That change only affects some of the RS throughline, and actually makes it stronger:
Issue: Commitment
Problem: Avoidance
Solution: Pursuit
…which fits perfectly

Critical reception is always mixed for Will Ferrell films, a lot of critics can’t/won’t look past the silly humour, but this one feels so solid.


I was pleasantly surprised by how great it was and absolutely agree there is a storyform there somewhere. It’s definitely going to be in the Pitch Perfect area of ‘winning the contest.’ I’d have to take a closer look at cysto’s storyform, but I broadly agree.

My theory (having seen it a few times) is there are two stories going on. You have the Eurovision stuff, and then you have something in there about Making Iceland Proud or something along those lines. The first is a failure, the second is a success – although the second story is pretty light and mostly in the background.

The reason I think that is because, in the first story, Lars clearly changes (‘I want to win Eurovision’ -> ‘I don’t care if we get disqualified, you have to sing your song’), and in the second, it’s his father that changes (‘you are a disappointment to me’ -> ‘I am proud of you’). That could just be two interpretations of the same storyform, but it seems to me that the thematics there are very different from the stuff in the contest, and the two ‘arcs’ are wildly different.

I think a big issue there is people’s inherent response to Eurovision as a real thing. Here in the UK, it’s a pretty big deal and the people that like Eurovision LOVED the movie (whether they like Ferrell or not), and those that hate it really thought the movie was just overly silly, too long, not funny enough, etc.

If that’s the response from people that know what it is, I think it would probably extend to those that had never heard of or seen the contest. Which is kind of amusing, because the actual event is ten times nuttier than Ferrell put into the movie.

I mean, the movie didn’t feature a young woman singing in front of a chalkboard while a suited man on a ladder wears a horse’s head for no apparent reason. Or the time Ireland sent a singing turkey that would later get into twitter spats with boyband members and run for president…

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Thanks @jhay,

It’s almost a little bit like two conflicting messages, as it’s like Lars being steadfast about his dream to his dad, but change to Sigrit, but I think the stuff with his dad is relatively minor, is mostly for comedic effect, and not important storyform-wise. Could also be seen as an obstacle to the realisation that he has everything he needs at home already (remembering that his obsession has caused himself and others to view him as a bit of an outsider that only Sigrit understands - the policeman says everyone thinks he’s weird - and part of the change is that there is increased acceptance at the end between him and the people of the town, including his dad.)

As for the OS, I think it’s only about Iceland winning Eurovision, as we have the clear protagonist in Lars, and clear antagonist in Viktor.

If you think about the wider contest, none of the other countries ever consider Iceland a challenge, and none of them are playing any tricks or anything to sabotage Iceland or any other country’s chances or anything (no conflict between the competitors) - everyone is having a good time just being there, and it is basically a foregone conclusion that Russia will win and the Iceland saga is just an interesting sideshow that a few of them get caught up in (the main “external” characters Alexander and Mita have important roles in the RS throughline, not in the OS).

Agreed. I think if there is a substory, it’ll be like the one in Finding Nemo where it’s very incomplete and light. It doesn’t seem to affect anything in the ‘main’ plot – you could cut pretty much all of Brosnan’s scenes and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. I just think Lars’s two resolves are so opposite and both are so clear that there has to be something in there. If not, his MC throughline is very badly dysfunctional.

Definitely. And it’s entirely possible that this could just be an illustration of those dividends (making it feel like a very happy ending, more than a bittersweet one).

Agree entirely on the Iceland Winning Eurovision being the OS throughline – there’s no way it could possibly be anything else. I think even if there IS a second story in there, it definitely doesn’t have an OS of its own.

For sure. I found this extremely refreshing from a storytelling perspective (the contestants being really nice and supportive to one another??? awesome), and I can see it being in Activity/Physics for sure. Blowing up the boat and all the chaos in organizing and the hamster wheel and the song-along. Very physics. Mita and Lemtov in RS – totally. Lemtov is very strong there.

Lars’s dad is the only thing that’s still a question mark for me. Sure, he could be the skeptic in the OS (although I think the Eurovision/Iceland board fill that role better) but it doesn’t explain his change at the end. It’s a night-and-day shift.

Thanks @jhay

I think he is the skeptic in the identified OS as he thinks it’s just a waste of time and doesn’t initially look deeper to the fact that underneath all the camp and silliness, the contest represents community and pride in your country/culture, which Lars recognises at the end. Now that you brought it up, Erik is a great example of Disbelief and Oppose in terms of the OS goal.

That’s why i don’t think there are two conflicting resolves for Lars. The reconciliation with his father is just a representation of recognising the importance of his community, which is why it triggers him to return to Sigrit, completing his arc.

Remember also that though the committee is skeptical of Fire Saga, they are not skeptical of the OS goal, they are very much supportive of that the whole way through, they just don’t think Fire Saga can pull it off. I would actually put them in Support, as they are supporting their performers the whole way through, there’s just a period where they don’t like the fact that it’s Fire Saga, but once they accept the inevitable, they do provide the advisers for the performances, remain invested the rest of the way through etc.

I think the boat incident is a clear Action driving the Decision to choose Fire Saga as Iceland’s representatives, but yes, all the mishaps during the performances, Victor’s other acts of sabotage, the elves, the car ride put the OS clearly in Physics.

I would agree with the incomplete sub-story angle. It’s both a father/son issue (you embarrass me, you make me proud) and a contest/romance issue (Pitch Perfect).

The low critical reception rating would be a result of these competing incomplete arguments. While the father/son storyform appears as the “sub” story (because of its insufficient exploration of OS and RS Throughlines), the “main” story fails to adequately explore the subjective Throughlines (particularly the RS and IC in both Signposts 2 and 3).

The outcome of all this is the sense that the film was a “great idea” but lagged in the middle. Ask anyone what happened after the ship blew up and they would be hard-pressed to answer in detail (“The Elves were funny!”). Ask another group of people to define the intentions of Lemtov and Mahut (the Russian and Greek contestant “couple”) and the answer will come back confused or silent? At first they seemed co-conspirators…then they weren’t…

There is enough there to get the sense of a Storyform, but not enough to make it memorable. That the Storyform in question is the definitive Western culture K-based narrative (Steadfast/Obtaining/Avoidance) only makes it less appealing to critics…and to Audiences.

How many saw the trailer and already felt like they had seen the movie a thousand times?

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