“Jung wrote that one cannot stand aloof from the
images, actions and stories of the person who’s being
analysed. One has to enter them. Likewise, with
dramatic characters. If you don’t enter them, then
your subconscious will never work. You’ll never
come up with anything that the audience couldn’t
have thought of better at home.”
- David Mamet
Our raison d’etreOur raison d’etre
To facilitate effective, collaborative screen-based
SOME DEFINITIONSSOME DEFINITIONS
WHAT IS A DRAMATIC STORY?
PROBLEMS GOALS PLANS
WHAT IS A COLLABORATION?WHAT IS A COLLABORATION?
A mutually respectful, creative interaction between
skilled individuals working towards a common goal
based on a shared understanding concerning the
nature of the work in which they are engaged.
So what is this “shared understanding”?
Dramatic stories are
STRUCTURED presentations of
generated by ACTIONS and SOUNDS
perpetrated by CHARACTERS with
INCOMPATIBLE AGENDAS (conflict,
When acted upon, these conflicting agendas
produce significant consequences with
increasing threat to the characters’ well-
being, forcing them to go on acting in the
hope of re-establishing some degree of
balance, safety, or control.
DRAMATIC ACTION = EMOTIONAL ENERGY
2 things dramatic stories2 things dramatic stories
they BUILD energy &they BUILD energy &
they RELEASE energythey RELEASE energy
When they are NOT dramaticWhen they are NOT dramatic
they DISSIPATE energy
A story’s power = its EFFECTIVENESS
in building and releasing energy
(intensity) … so long as the story action
When a story stops building energy, or is unable to
effectively release it, the energy dissipates, which is
another way of saying the story becomes undramatic.
Regardless of form, effective storytellers will have a
passionate interest in the sources, manifestations and
transformations of emotional energy, i.e.: the characters
and their actions
Effective learning, conducted collaboratively,
is vastly enhanced when the team of
storytellers includes the characters as
essential members of the team.
• The realisation and presentation of effective
dramatic characters – in screen-based
storytelling - is mediated by the capture of
images and sounds relevant to those
characters, their world, and the dramatic
questions the characters’ problems cause us –
as both storyteller and audience – to ask.
A screen story that is dramatic and
effective produces fresh, unexpected
and credible images and juxtapositions
of images and sounds.
The finding and capturing of fresh,
unexpected and credible images and their
juxtaposition is more likely to produce
effective dramatic stories if the filmmaker/
storytellers are working from inside the
emotional life of the characters.
• When the capture, selection, weighting and
ordering of images and sounds is guided by
the a common understanding of the
emotional life of the characters, and when
the creative choices that are made
illuminate what is most compelling,
relevant, credible and ORIGINAL to the
characters, including their specific
problems, plans, and objectives, image and
sound cannot fail but serve the story.
All craft questions, at least implicitly,
are questions concerning the most
effective way of presenting emotional
energy as enacted by characters in the
context of the world or worlds in which
the characters are acting….
Dramatic storytelling isDramatic storytelling is
Dramatic stories are conceived and told from a
point of view, in a context, to an audience.
Effective dramatic storytelling relies on the
storytellers’ awareness of and engagement with
not only the characters, but also the AUDIENCE
and the “TRIBE” (or tribes) relevant to the telling.
THE THREE PRIMARY RELATIONSHIPS
(or vantage points)
Storyteller - Character (story) relationship
Storyteller - Audience relationship
Storyteller - Tribe relationship