DZ-108: The Emotional Event with Judith Weston

How and why should every scene have an emotional event?

For the first episode of our tenth anniversary year, we are joined by Judith Weston to talk about Emotional Events. 

What is an emotional event? Well, it’s a way of thinking about scenes through relationships rather than plot. Instead of asking how a scene moves the plot forward, ask how the scene alters the relationship between characters. While emotional events are ostensibly a tool for directors to interpret scenes, we believe that the emotional event starts with the writer(s).

But it is an idea better illustrated through examples and discussion rather than sound bites. To that end, we breakdown scene from OPPENHEIMER, CASINO ROYALE (the Daniel Craig one), and PAST LIVES and explore how the emotional event is written (and not written) on the page. 

Through a close reading of each scene, we talk about subtext, power dynamics, status transactions, tactics, beats and much much more. Because Chas, Stu and Judith are also reading the scripts there  lot of discussion about table reads and how to get the most out of them.

For those unfamiliar with Judith, she is a famed teacher of writers, directors and actors with a focus on the directing or actors. Her books Directing Actors and The Film Director’s Intuition are basically industry standards. 

You can find Judith Weston (and her books!) at her website:


Thanks to Chris Walker for his excellent editing this episode.

As always: SPOILERS ABOUND and all copyright material used under fair use for educational purposes.


  • 00:00:00 – Cold Open
  • 00:00:30 – What is an emotional event?
  • 00:13:48 – Oppenheimer
  • 00:46:16 – Casino Royale
  • 00:59:35 – Past Lives
  • 01:30:20 – Key Learnings & Wrap Up
  • 01:36:05 – Thanks to our Patreons


How can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Jennifer, Thomas, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.

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We are @stuwillis, and @chasffisher on twitter. You can find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.