Standup comedians can keep audiences gripped to their every word for over an hour, and often bring them to emotional climaxes by the end. So how do they do it and what tools can apply to scripted narratives?
For this deep dive into standup, Stu and Chas are joined by the super-talented comic and podcaster Alice Fraser. Which is rather fortuitous. Because not only are we schooled on comedy techniques, but because Alice also has a Masters in Narrative Rhetoric.
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.
As part of their ongoing exploration of scene-work, Stu and Chas apply their earlier thinking on theme and character worldview to individual scenes. Can examining a scene from a thematic perspective impact the drama, conflict or stakes of the scene? How does your character’s conscious and subconscious world views dramatise the overall theme of the work? How can an individual scene reflect the larger themes of the overall story? Do any of these questions or approaches lead to writing better scenes?
To this end, Stu and Chas examine particular scenes from works that have particularly apparent, strong and consistent themes; namely: FINDING NEMO, EX MACHINA, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and the Netflix TV series GLOW.