DZ-45: Arguments of the Scene

How can you dramatise your theme on a scene level?

As part of their ongoing exploration of scene-work, Stu and Chas apply their earlier thinking on theme and character worldview to individual scenes. Can examining a scene from a thematic perspective impact the drama, conflict or stakes of the scene? How does your character’s conscious and subconscious world views dramatise the overall theme of the work? How can an individual scene reflect the larger themes of the overall story? Do any of these questions or approaches lead to writing better scenes?

To this end, Stu and Chas examine particular scenes from works that have particularly apparent, strong and consistent themes; namely: FINDING NEMO, EX MACHINA, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and the Netflix TV series GLOW.

… SPOILERS ABOUND!!

Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

Special thanks to our Patreon supporters. If you would like more Draft Zero episodes more often, click here!

EPISODE LINKS

Please send feedback to ask at draft-zero.com, via our web form or twitter @draft_zero! We are @chasffisher and @stuwillis on twitter.

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Thanks to Khrob and Nick for being patrons. They’re good people.

 

DZ-44: First Acts and Establishing Characters

How can your first act effectively establish your character journey?

First Acts are hard. They have to set so much in motion, especially setting up characters. To help them understand how to write effective first acts better, Stu and Chas turn their analytical gaze to a franchise that has been refining and reiterating its first act “schema” for over a decade… THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE.

The MCU has made (to date) six separate origin films, each tasked with establishing their titular characters. So you’d think they’d have found some patterns that works for them. In this episode, we take a look at three of these: IRON MAN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and DOCTOR STRANGE. Stu also makes numerous comparisons to THOR, and we enthuse about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol 2.

As we breakdown where these first acts succeed (and, er, not-succeed), our discussion moves through sequence structure, macguffins, supporting characters, exposition… and — most importantly — Character Wounds and Character Flaws.

Even if you don’t care for MCU films, there is plenty to learn from how they approach their first acts.

SPOILERS ABOUND!!

… and stick around after the end credits, for an important announcement re: our launching of a Patreon.

Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

EPISODE LINKS

Please send feedback to ask at draft-zero.com, via our web form or twitter @draft_zero  We are @chasffisher and @stuwillis on twitter.

Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcast! or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.

Thanks to Khrob and Nick for being patrons. They’re good people.

DZ-43: Driving Sequences – Character and Plot Intensity

What gives your sequences their intensity?

Chas and Stu are joined for the fourth time by the inestimable Stephen Cleary – this time to take a deep dive into sequences. A real deep dive. A 3+ hour deep dive.

Stephen postulates that sequences can compel the audience in different ways via the type of dramatic questions being posed. Are they plot questions (“Will she defuse the bomb?“) or character questions (“Will she understand what compels her to defuse bombs?“) or a combination of both? What is the impact on the pacing, structure of your story or audience experience of your characters by changing the type of question being asked? What happens to your story when your protagonist decides to literally abandon the plot?

Our deep dive roams through THE BOURNE IDENTITY, NAKED, THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, FARGO (the movie) and CHILDREN OF MEN… with many-a-tangent referencing HEAT, FRENZY, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, AMOUR, CHEF, HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, THE KINGSMAN, FURY ROAD, THE COLOUR OF POMEGRANATES, LIVING IS EASY WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED, MOONLIGHT, and probably some more that we’ve forgotten.

SPOILERS ABOUND!!

Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

PS: Thanks to all our listeners who provided feedback on a draft edit of this episode.

EPISODE LINKS

Please send feedback to ask at draft-zero.com, via our web form or twitter @draft_zero  We are @chasffisher and @stuwillis on twitter.

Please considering rating or subscribing to us on iTunes! or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.