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Posts Tagged ‘drama’

Today’s useful writing link: David Mamet’s Master Class Memo to the Writers of The Unit. Originally written in 2005, it remains as concise a discussion of dramatic writing as I’ve seen. Funny too. For those of you interested in writing, I highly recommend that you read the whole thing (it’s not long); here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite.
 
QUESTION:WHAT IS DRAMA? DRAMA, AGAIN, IS THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL.
SO: WE, THE WRITERS, MUST ASK OURSELVES OF EVERY SCENE THESE THREE QUESTIONS.
1) WHO WANTS WHAT?
2) WHAT HAPPENS IF HER DON’T GET IT?
3) WHY NOW?

Ignore the typos and the all caps to focus on the substance. This memo is terrific advice for any writer, television or otherwise. 
  
START, EVERY TIME, WITH THIS INVIOLABLE RULE: THE SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. it must start because the hero HAS A PROBLEM, AND IT MUST CULMINATE WITH THE HERO FINDING HIM OR HERSELF EITHER THWARTED OR EDUCATED THAT ANOTHER WAY EXISTS.
 
 
LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF “IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?
ANSWER TRUTHFULLY.
 
On that note, it’s time to get back to writing:)

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