Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast
Two emerging screenwriters – Chas Fisher and Stuart Willis – try to work out what makes great screenplays work. Discovering what it takes by analysing what successful writers put on the page
info_outline DZ-81: Pitch Decks & Look Books - Development Tools 4 06/30/2021
DZ-81: Pitch Decks & Look Books - Development Tools 4 Chas and Stu are joined by writer/director/producer/multi-hyphenate Marc Furmie of Rezistor Studios to talk all things pitch decks and look books. Coming from an advertising and music video background, Marc shares his experience in putting together visual materials to pitch a project. We discuss the difference between pitch decks and lookbooks, how they help you sell your projects, what buyers are looking for, television vs features, and how do we make yours better?
info_outline DZ-80: Interweaving Timelines 3 - Little Women 05/31/2021
DZ-80: Interweaving Timelines 3 - Little Women In our final part, part 3, of our Interweaving Timelines series, we take a deep dive into Greta Gerwig's 2019 adaptation of Little Women. In her adaptation of the iconic novels, Greta chose to interweave the seperate timelines of Little Women and it's sequel, Good Wives, to create a thematically and emotionally potent work. This differs from all the other adaptations, which have chosen to keep the chronological storytelling of the source material. It's almost like a scientific experiment!
info_outline DZ-79: Interweaving Timelines 2 - The Social Network 04/30/2021
DZ-79: Interweaving Timelines 2 - The Social Network In Part 2 of Interweaving Timelines, DZ tackle The Social Network. We analyse Sorkin’s on-the-page skill with time jumps, managing intercutting and introducing characters - as well as explore how the flash-forward technique manages the absence of stakes (i.e. we know Facebook exists) and creates a different emotional experience to the flashbacks of Destroyer. Finally, we look at how the interweaving timelines change how the audience feel about Mark Zuckerberg (as portrayed in this film).
info_outline DZ-78: Interweaving Timelines 1 - Destroyer 04/01/2021
DZ-78: Interweaving Timelines 1 - Destroyer Stu and Chas are joined by Mel Killingsworth to dissect interweaving timelines. Not anthology films. Not Cloud Atlas. But films where two plot lines featuring the same characters, but from different timelines, are woven together. How do you manage stakes when you know a character’s future? What questions does this prompt in the viewer? And how the hell do you orient the reader?
info_outline DZ-77: Backmatter - Prioritising and choosing projects 02/28/2021
DZ-77: Backmatter - Prioritising and choosing projects In this particular Backmatter entry, Stu & Chas wax lyrical on [deep breath]: character journeys, hyperlink cinema, keeping genre fresh, beginning a new co-writing relationship, managing multiple projects, choosing your next project, and - naturally - Star Wars. SPOILERS ABOUND, particularly for The Mandalorian Season 2 and Ready or Not.
info_outline DZ-75: Fury Road & Visual Storytelling 12/31/2020
DZ-75: Fury Road & Visual Storytelling Stu and Chas are joined by filmmaker, podcaster and writer Matthew Brown to deep dive into FURY ROAD and its astounding visual storytelling, both on the page and on screen. We talk about setups and payoffs, given circumstances, image systems, environmental storytelling, and how the relationship between Furiosa and Max is built over the course of the story with very little dialogue (besides Tom Hardy’s grunts and the odd bellow of “MEDIOCRE!”).
info_outline DZ-73: Selling documents - Development Tools 3 10/21/2020
DZ-73: Selling documents - Development Tools 3 In this final part from the epic recording on short documents, Stephen explores how we should craft the words on the page and structure these documents differently when they are to sell the project as opposed to develop the project. Something that Chas and Stu badly need to hear, learn and apply right now.
info_outline DZ-72: Theme & The Story Synopsis – Development Tools 2 09/28/2020
DZ-72: Theme & The Story Synopsis – Development Tools 2 How can I develop my theme without writing script pages?
info_outline DZ-71: Treatments & Loglines 1 - Development Tools 09/01/2020
DZ-71: Treatments & Loglines 1 - Development Tools Stu and Chas are joined by fan-favourite, Stephen Cleary, to NOT look at what makes great screenplays work -- but what makes great "short documents" work. Part I explores the short documents and tools you can use to develop your story’s PLOT before going to script, including the Premise, the Logline, various synopses, character documents, and - of course - the dreaded Treatment…
info_outline DZ-69: Parasite & Audience Questions 06/10/2020
DZ-69: Parasite & Audience Questions Draft Zero return with their next YouTube livestream! Stu and Chas take a deep dive into PARASITE and how its mastery of audience questions elevates the film. They then answer listeners questions on PARASITE and much more.
info_outline DZ LiVEsolation Annoucement 04/07/2020
DZ LiVEsolation Annoucement We hope you are all staying healthy and safe. Due this difficult time of lockdown, Chas and Stu have decided to “regularly” do special live-streamed episodes (via YouTube Live) of Draft Zero that we are calling LiVEsolation.
info_outline DZ-66: The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker - Audience Knowledge vs Character Motivation 03/17/2020
DZ-66: The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker - Audience Knowledge vs Character Motivation Chas and Stu are joined by special guest - filmmaker Mel Killingsworth - to talk all things Star Wars. Well… focusing on The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker and wherever else our tangents take us.
info_outline DZ-65: Collaborating with a Director - The Snip 02/14/2020
DZ-65: Collaborating with a Director - The Snip This episode, Chas steps down as co-host (kinda) and is interviewed by Stu as a guest, alongside director Ben Mizzi, about the short rom-com that Chas wrote and Ben directed & produced. The episode covers taking an idea from pitch to screen, working with a director, directing performance on the page, and marketing and distribution strategies for short films.
info_outline DZ-64: Backmatter - Controlling your Work, Treatments, and Writing Styles 01/30/2020
DZ-64: Backmatter - Controlling your Work, Treatments, and Writing Styles Stu and Chas indulge themselves by offering personal opinions based on their own personal experience. To that end, they discuss: what is and is not in your control in relation to an emerging writing career; choosing what project to develop next; using the Black List site to gain traction; the difference between treatments for pitching as opposed to for development; the difference in writing style when writing on spec as against work for hire; and guest David Wappel shares his thoughts on anchoring nouns.
info_outline DZ-63: Tools for Better Dialogue 2 - Hook and Eye 12/31/2019
DZ-63: Tools for Better Dialogue 2 - Hook and Eye 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.
info_outline DZ-62: Unfilmables and Unscriptables 3 - As Ifs & Emotional context 12/02/2019
DZ-62: Unfilmables and Unscriptables 3 - As Ifs & Emotional context 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.
info_outline DZ-61: Unfilmables and Unscriptables 2 - Moments of Awe 09/25/2019
DZ-61: Unfilmables and Unscriptables 2 - Moments of Awe 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?
info_outline DZ-60 Unfilmables and Unscriptables 1 - Engaging imagination 08/07/2019
DZ-60 Unfilmables and Unscriptables 1 - Engaging imagination 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”?
info_outline DZ-59: Avengers Endgame - Ending Character Journeys 07/01/2019
DZ-59: Avengers Endgame - Ending Character Journeys 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.
info_outline DZ-58: Game of Thrones - Character Exposition 05/16/2019
DZ-58: Game of Thrones - Character Exposition 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.
info_outline DZ-57: Backmatter - Aesthetics and Forgiveness in Writing 05/01/2019
DZ-57: Backmatter - Aesthetics and Forgiveness in Writing 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.
info_outline DZ-56: Character Motivations (Part 2) 03/30/2019
DZ-56: Character Motivations (Part 2) 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.
info_outline DZ-55: Character Motivations (Part 1) 01/15/2019
DZ-55: Character Motivations (Part 1) 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.
info_outline DZ-54: Thematic Sequences 10/10/2018
DZ-54: Thematic Sequences 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.
info_outline DZ-53: Antagonists! 5 - vs Audience 08/26/2018
DZ-53: Antagonists! 5 - vs Audience 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