Understanding Drama

UnknownBefore I could delve into the tough task of writing a drama I had to understand it. Needless to say I have spent years watching drama’s to the point that drama has become my favourite genre. In fact the vast majority of the text’s that I have written have been drama based. One of the first thing’s I had to realise whilst writing drama’s is that they always house some sort of conflict. ‘All drama has conflict, but not all conflict has drama. Conflict moves along a continuum from external to internal, and the heat of the conflict rises with the intensity of the threat.’ (James Linnell 2011: 36) This was a key point that I had to take into consideration whilst writing ‘A bit about Frank’. This conflict can be found in the text when Billy engages in ‘conflict’ with the idea of losing his father Frank. This engagement leads him to go to the dodgy doctor who in turn kills Billy. Without this conflict the drama which drives this story would no longer take place.

Knowing when to add certain character changes, or disruptions to a characters journey is very important. If there is no significance in the change then it is simply just a waste of time. I recently learnt, how easy it is to get carried away by throwing random scenes and disruptions in to a text  just to help cover up the lack of something else, or to make the narrative seem more complex when in actuality it makes it more confusing and overwhelming to the audience. ‘The plotting of emotional form is knowing where and when to cut the binding cords. If the writer, flush with skill, simply makes a disturbance for the sake of the noise and the excitement, then he is playing at drama, not writing drama.‘ (James Linnell 2011: 59) Simplicity is a word which is sometimes over looked when writing. Although I really want to continue to implement the idea of simplicity into this text ‘A bit about Frank’.

Having one major event in the film instead of a flurry will help to simply my narrative and bring out the emotion and drama in the film. In a short film like mine it is important to give each scene space and time to play out. Also the goal is to make a film of quality with a running time of roughly 15minutes. ‘By focusing on the playing out of just one event, the director can fully explore the events dramatic potential. This simplicity of purpose frees her to give depth to the piece. The audience comes away satisfied because their expectations have been fulfilled.’ (David K Irving 2006: 25) As the director and writer of the film I will have the final say on how the structure of the film plans out. So by minimising the amount of unnecessary shots and scenes my job of directing the piece and bringing out the emotions within the text will be much easier.

My role of writing and directing this drama will not be easy. There will be a lot of performance scenes where I will have to really bring the best out of the actors. I will need to make them aware of the meaning and importance of certain lines in the script. For example when Frank says ‘Even these upstanding tower flats we call home can’t keep me on my feet, my peaks are way too low to get me through an average weak’ in the kitchen scene between him and Daniel. I have highlighted this piece of text just show you how important lines like this are in the film. I may also highlight the lines in the script to make it clear for the actor who is reading the lines at the time. If these key lines are not brought out to their full potential we may face the risk of losing the essence and the emotional ‘simplicity’ of the film. As the director of the film I will try my best to bring out the drama within the film and I will continue to read up and research about the genre in the aim to bring truth to the text.


James Linnell (2011). Walking on Fire : The Shaping Force of Emotion in Writing Drama.. Carbondale, IL, USA: Southern Illinois University Press. pg 36.

James Linnell (2011). Walking on Fire : The Shaping Force of Emotion in Writing Drama.. Carbondale, IL, USA: Southern Illinois University Press. pg 59.

David K Irving Peter W (2006). Producing and directing the short film and video. Burlington, MA: Focal Press . pg 25.


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