DZ-105: Establishing Tone through Big Print

How can we teach the reader to find the humour in our darkness?

Chas and Stu finally start their long-mooted exploration of tone with a series that examines films and shows with unusual tones and dives into how the writers establish those tones in the first 5 pages.

How does your script want your reader to experience violence in your story? Humour? Sex? Prejudice?

To answer these questions, this episode look at how films with “darker” or “sadder” tones teach the reader what they can laugh at, namely: THE NICE GUYS, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN and the pilot for YELLOWJACKETS.

Together they learn how to better talk about tone, how to frame tone for a scene or sequence, and what levers writers can use on the page to compensate for cinematic tools like music, performance, composition, lighting, design, editing, etc etc etc.

Future episodes plan to explore establishing lighter or quirkier tones, as well as tools in shifting or changing tone on the page.

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


  • 00:00:00 – Cold Open
  • 00:00:32 – What is tone?
  • 00:25:00 – The Nice Guys
  • 00:55:07 – Sponsor: Arc Studio Pro
  • 00:57:23 – The Banshees of Inisherin
  • 01:25:06 – Yellowjackets
  • 01:53:30 – Key Learnings & Wrap Up
  • 02:04:40 – Many thanks to our Patreons!


This episode brought to you by (drum roll):

And how can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Casimir, 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.