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DZ-41: Theme and Worldview

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

Release Date: 03/24/2017

DZ-63: Tools for Better Dialogue (Part 2) - Hook and Eye show art DZ-63: Tools for Better Dialogue (Part 2) - Hook and Eye

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

Stu and Chas have kidnapped Stephen Cleary to once again develop some craft tools around dialogue. In Part 2 of this series, we analyse key scenes from films and TV shows famous for their dialogue, namely FLEABAG (Season 2, Episode 5), JUNO and DEADWOOD (The Pilot). The biggest tools we explore are: the hook and eye; how dialogue can reveal status and empathy; rhythm; contrast and affinity; and pacing.

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DZ-62: Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 3) - As Ifs & Emotional context show art DZ-62: Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 3) - As Ifs & Emotional context

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

In this final part of our series on unfilmables, Chas and Stu turn their critical eye to... each other’s work! They take their key learnings from the previous ep and apply them to rewriting scenes from their own projects. They discuss metaphors, emotional context, and how you can write tone on the page without resorting to unfilmables.

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DZ-61: Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 2) - Moments of Awe show art DZ-61: Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 2) - Moments of Awe

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

Chas and Stu continue their deep dive into how writing the “unfilmable” can enhance your script. Rather than looking at micro moments, they turn their gaze to ‘moments of awe’ — those often breathtaking cinematic moments that feel beyond writing. But are those scenes actually unscriptable?

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DZ-60 Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 1) - Engaging imagination show art DZ-60 Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 1) - Engaging imagination

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

In this episode, Chas and Stu deep dive into the controversial area of “unfilmables” — those alleged screenwriting sins, where a writer writes a line that (apparently) cannot be seen or heard. But many produced spec scripts use unfilmables to great effect. So how and why do they “get away with it”?

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DZ-59: Avengers Endgame - Ending Character Journeys show art DZ-59: Avengers Endgame - Ending Character Journeys

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

A short-shot into Avengers Endgame. What began as an exploration of how to dramatise character change swiftly became an exploration of how to position audience in relation to your characters. Do you want the audience empathising with the characters? Feeling what they are feeling in the moment? Or do you want your audience sympathising with your characters? Being rocked by surprise after the fact? Reminding your audience of their own personal relationship with the characters.

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DZ-58: Game of Thrones - Character Exposition show art DZ-58: Game of Thrones - Character Exposition

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

while we thought this episode would be an extension of our previous musings on exposition, in nearly every great scene we assessed, the characters basically said “screw talking about plot or backstory” and instead exposited about their character. How it feels to be them. How they have, or have not, changed.

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DZ-57: Backmatter - Aesthetics and Forgiveness in Writing show art DZ-57: Backmatter - Aesthetics and Forgiveness in Writing

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

It is time (in fact, well past time) for our semi-annual #Backmatter episode. For the uninitiated, this is an episode where Stu and Chas discuss career and craft-related topics beyond what makes great screenplays work. To that end, Stu and Chas dive into: a five year review of Draft Zero and how it has changed their writing craft and process; a discussion on the aesthetics of writing; learnings for emerging writers in having their work produced; and finally forgiving yourself for not writing.

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DZ-56: Character Motivations (Part 2) show art DZ-56: Character Motivations (Part 2)

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

Chas & Stu examine moments where they did not believe a key decision being made by a character and so were taken out of the movie. They apply the tools they developed in Part 1 to workshop potential fixes to these beats.

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DZ-55: Character Motivations (Part 1) show art DZ-55: Character Motivations (Part 1)

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

In part 1 of this 2-part episode, Chas & Stu look at examples of good character motivation.  We’ve all watched movies where we don’t believe the motivation of a character or characters. We may have even written scripts where readers don’t buy the character’s choices. To help us solve the problem of how to improve our character motivations, in this episode we explore great examples of character motivation and how they have helped the audience believe a character’s decision. 

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DZ-54: Thematic Sequences show art DZ-54: Thematic Sequences

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

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. We 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.

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More Episodes

How can your characters' worldview dramatise your theme?

In this episode, Stu and Chas tackle one of the more esoteric topics in screenwriting (and writing in general): theme! To help us tackle this topic, we decided to look at television pilots, because we felt that television requires the theme to be more explicit. Our zig-zagging (and long) discussion covers thematic engines, music themes, thematic loglines, punishment vs reward, and - perhaps most of all - the worldview of  characters.

So we take a look at the opening and closing scenes (and middle scenes, too) of some of our favourite shows: HOUSE OF CARDS, CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, TRUE DETECTIVE, FARGO and TRANSPARENT. We also make passing reference to SPEC OPS: THE LINE, GAME OF THRONES (its Stu's new Star Wars), and BOJACK HORSEMAN.

In backmatter, we talk about the difference between the written scripts of these pilots and their released versions.

Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

It should go without saying but - SPOILERS AHEAD.

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