DZ-54: Thematic Sequences

Chas and Stu are joined, once again, by the inestimable Stephen Cleary. This episode is a spiritual sequel to our last episode with Stephen, the one on sequence structure. That episode explored how sequences could be broken into plot, character, and plot/character sequences.

Well, Stephen’s back to talk about a different type of sequence: the thematic sequence. By limiting (or removing all together) questions related to character or plot, filmmakers can force their audience to engage with the deeper, underlying meaning of the story.

Our deep dive onto this topic focuses on LOVE ACTUALLY, THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL, APOCALYPSE NOW, and IN THE BEDROOM. But it wouldn’t be a Draft Zero without numerous digressions including into HUNGER, GET OUT, INFINITY WAR, and THE THIN RED LINE.

DZ-43: Driving Sequences – Character and Plot 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?

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.