Saturday, June 28, 2008

Decision as the driver of drama

"Whether your script is a drama, a comedy, or a thriller, there's always a decision that must be made in order to solve the external [plot] problem. If your protagonist doesn't have to make a decision that alters the course of the story, your protagonist isn't INVOLVED in the story. He's just along for the ride.

"Oddly enough, this is often the problem with character-oriented screenplays - the character doesn't have a major decision to make in the course of the story - and that makes them unimportant! You could substitute ANY character into the story with the exact same outcome. The decision your protagonist makes is the most important part of your screenplay - it reveals the theme. The meaning of your script."


"A good dramatic decision gives you three big meaty scenes: weighing the decision, the decision itself, then living with the result of the decision."

"Dramatic Decisions" by William Martell, from MovieScope magazine 2:2.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The wisdom of Mitchell and Webb - and their writers

Peep Show, June 6 2008 (last of present series). Mark thinks he has accidentally impregnated his soon-to-be ex-wife. He reflects: "Sperm is like lending someone less than a fiver. You can't really ask for it back."

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Doctor Who - Forest of the Dead

Extremely poor two-parter which raised uncomfortable questions about the future of the franchise. Now Steven Moffat is the boss, has no one the backbone to tell him his scripts need more work? This was an exceptional idea - carnivorous shadows - that completely lost its way in the second part and had a nonsense denouement about virtual reality. The character and mythology devolopment (is the woman above the Doctor's future wife?) was clever and compelling but thrown away at the end with an unnecessary resolution - the whole point of such twists within the Who franchise is enriching the mystery. Quality guest actors like Alex Kingston, Steve Pemberton and above all Colin Salmon (not so much the man in the moon, more the moon as a man) were underexploited. Overall, over-indulgent pish.