DZ-40: Tactics and Scenes

In this episode, Stu and Chas turn their gaze to the “tactics” that characters use in scenes to get what they want. Tactics are how the characters try to achieve their goals and (we reckon) can be revealing of the essence of their character. The shifting and thwarting of tactics can make scenes more dynamic; while over the course of a story, the changing of tactics can reflect the growth of characters… even if their goal stays the same.

We take a close look at great single scenes from ZODIAC and TRAINING DAY. And then we look at a number of scenes over the course of HELL OR HIGH WATER, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and WINTER’S BONE.  And we also skate over WILE E COYOTE, GAME OF THRONES, MACBETH, HAMLET, and EDGE OF SEVENTEEN. Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below!
It should go without saying but – SPOILERS AHOY.

DZ-15: World Building Rules, Okay?

In our most epic/longest episode yet, Chas and Stu tackle world building in films. Specifically, how the rules make something a world and not just a setting. Starting with world-centric genres like sci-fi and fantasy, we also cover horror, crime drama and – er – “other”. We discuss a variety of techniques for setting up the rules of the world, including cold opens, voiceover, title cards and outsider characters! We’ve limited ourselves to the opening 3-5 pages… mostly… because (so the theory goes) they’re the pages that teach the audience how to read/watch your story/film.

Like with the character introductions episode, we cover a lot of scripts. In no particular order… [deep breath]… THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX RELOADED, MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, INCEPTION, GRAVITY, MINORITY REPORT, MOON, LOOPER, ELYSIUM, JURASSIC PARK, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, MADAGASCAR, FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, PAN’S LABYRINTH, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, NIGHT WATCH, VAN HELSING, THE ONE I LOVE, 28 WEEKS LATER, WORLD WAR Z, DAWN OF THE DEAD, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, ZOMBIELAND, WOMAN IN BLACK, BRICK, ANIMAL KINGDOM, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, THE UNTOUCHABLES, GOODFELLAS, SHORT TERM 12, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, MOONRISE KINGDOM, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, and FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.

DZ-14: Writing For Actors & Old Underwear

In this episode, Chas and Stu are joined by a very special guest, SARAH SNOOK – star of Predestination, Jessabelle, and Oddball, amongst many others – to discuss ACTING and it’s relationship with WRITING. We focus our analysis on two scenes from AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, a screenplay that started life as a Pulitzer Prize winning play, and whose writer – Tracy Letts – is a successful actor in his own right. But, as usual, we ice-skate between a whole range of topics,  including what attracts actors to a script, writing realistic characters, how actors analyse scenes, character spines & objectives, and the importance of hugs.