DZ-84: Choices & Decisions 1 – Booksmart

What is the difference between choice and decision when it comes to characters?

In order to better understand dramatising of character, Chas and Stu take a very draft zero look at very specific tool: choices and decisions. We analyse three films through the decisions made by their characters. In particular, how the audience understanding of: the choice available, the considered decision itself, and the consequence changes how we feel about these characters. And how separating those three things can create different emotional effects on your audience. 

We debate this in the episode, but this is the terminology we settle on:

  • CHOICE: Are the options presented to the character.
  • DECISION: Is the knowing consideration of the choice and resulting action.
  • CONSEQUENCE: is the resulting outcome from the choice.

Part 1 (this part) establishes what we mean by choice and decision, and then takes a deep dive into BOOKSMART, directed by Olivia Wilde, and written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Susanna Fogel.  We all discuss FLEABAG, SEVEN, and old favourite, Star Wars.

Part 2 will turn our analytical eye on THE FAREWELL and WRATH OF MAN.


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

Thanks to Chris for editing this episodes.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:01:36 – Choices vs Decisions
  • 00:19:51 – Booksmart
  • 01:01:41 – Decisions & Structure
  • 01:05:50 – Mills’ decision in Se7en
  • 01:07:50 – Key Learnings and Wrap Up



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