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DZ-53: Antagonists! (Part 5) - vs Audience

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast

Release Date: 08/26/2018

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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What if there is no antagonist?

It’s time. The Epic Deep Dive(TM) into Antagonists has reached its shuddering conclusion. And for this Part V - by choosing films that have no obvious singular antagonist (and in some cases no obvious narrative either) - Stu and Chas realised there was indeed a final category of antagonists: the films themselves. Where the film (and the filmmaker) are engaging directly with the audience. Where the films are... VERSUS AUDIENCE.

The films that led to this “insight” often lie to the audience; talk directly to the audience; misdirect the audience; take the audience on meandering narrative strolls; or make the central character the antagonist to all other characters. Sometimes these techniques power a single scene. Sometimes they take up the whole film. All this to keep the audience compelled in the absence of singular antagonists. And these films are - drum roll, please - OCEAN’S 8, THE SECOND, F FOR FAKE, SANS SOLEIL and FORREST GUMP.

As always: SPOILERS ABOUND!

Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3. Watch it on on YouTube. Read the transcript on GitHubor in HTML.

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