DZ-57: Backmatter – Aesthetics and Forgiveness in Writing

How can you best articulate your ideas?

It is time (in fact, well past time) for our semi-annual #Backmatter episode. For the uninitiated, this is an episode where Stu and Chas discuss career and craft-related topics beyond what makes great screenplays work. To that end, Stu and Chas dive into: a five year review of Draft Zero and how it has changed their writing craft and process; a discussion on the aesthetics of writing; learnings for emerging writers in having their work produced; and finally forgiving yourself for not writing.

As always: an amazing thank you to out Patreons for supporting more Draft Zero more often, and in particular Patreon Chris Walker who edited this episode for us. 

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DZ-56: Character Motivations (Part 2)

Workshopping ways to fix character motivations.

In this second part of their exploration of character motivations, Chas and Stu dive into what makes “BAD” screenplays NOT work.  They examine at moments where they (and maybe you, dear listeners) did not believe a key decision being made by a character and so were taken out of the movie. In a departure from the Draft Zero format, they apply the tools they developed in Part 1 to workshop potential fixes to these beats.

Character decisions that come under the microscope are AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (again), SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, DIE HARD (which is a good example for contrast, not a bad one!), PREDATOR 2, SICARIO 2: DÍA DEL SOLDADO and PROMETHEUS (with an honourable mention to A PRINCESS BRIDE).

Let us know if you like the variation on our format or not!

As always: SPOILERS ABOUND!

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

Read the transcript on GitHub or in HTML.

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

LINKS

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

Many thanks to Chris, Murirb, Sandra, Paul, Rob, and Khrob for being top-level patrons. They’re good humans.

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DZ-55: Character Motivations (Part 1)

What to do when a reader says “I don’t buy that he/she would do that”?

In part 1 of this 2-part episode, Chas & Stu look at examples of good character motivation.  We’ve all watched movies where we don’t believe the motivation of a character or characters. We may have even written scripts where readers don’t buy the character’s choices. And that’s often a real problem because most of these choices coincide with key structural moments — e.g. the moments where the characters decide to do something “out of character” in order to progress to the next part of the story.  To help us solve the problem of how to improve our character motivations, in this episode we explore great examples of character motivation and how they have helped the audience believe a character’s decision. 

This episode started out as an exploration of bad character decisions; ones which are universally derided by audiences. And, sadly for us filmmakers, it is often a key structural decision being made by a character that audiences just don’t buy. However, as Stu and Chas did their homework, this episode swiftly became an exploration of character motivations (because that is really what you have to get across in order for your audience to believe a decision) and – in true DZ style – good examples of character motivations.

And so Chas and Stu dive into NOTTING HILL, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, GAME NIGHT, ARRIVAL, IN THE BEDROOM, BEIRUT, BREAKING BAD, THE MATRIX, BLOCKERS, A NEW HOPE (of course) and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Passing/honourable mention also to MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, THE COMMUTER, THE LOBSTER, GAME OF THRONES, IRON MAN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and DOCTOR STRANGE (as we re-visit and re-contextualise stuff we’ve analysed previously). 

The potential craft tools they uncover are character patterning, structural timing of the decision, debating the decision (both internally and externally), withholding the decision from the audience, and using external plot elements to either remove obstacles or push the character into making a decision that is… well… out of character. But believably so.

Stay tuned for Part II where we – for once – actually do explore some bad examples of character motivation.

As always: SPOILERS ABOUND!

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

Read the transcript on GitHub or in HTML.

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

LINKS

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

Many thanks to Murirb, Sandra, Paul, Rob, and Khrob for being top-level patrons. They’re good humans.

BUY DRAFT ZERO MERCH via TeePublic