BU Film School

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

FT 540 Lecture: Tuesday, May 27

Formal elements of drama
A. A combination of:
-- character
-- theme
-- narrative line
-- poetic correspondence (levels of meaning). Environment projects emotional state, etc.

When adapting, consider character and theme first -- narrative will arise out of that.

B. which utilizes:
-- psychological impact
-- narrative rhythm
-- theatrical suspense & curiosity
-- thematic tension
-- personal tone

C. in order to:
-- excite the reader, viewer
-- lift his consciousness from self to others (personally, socially, cosmically)
-- expand his worldview
-- heal social/personal/societal/trauma
-- identify the world of the reader/viewer in space and time

Question: on how many of the above-mentioned levels does the film/screenplay operate for you? The more the levels, the richer the film.

Alexander Nevsky
Real Method acting -- what is in me to bring out character (instead of other way around). Large scale. Big clouds, sky, troops. Musical cutting.

Dramatic structure
1) exposition. Introduction of character/themes/narrative/dramatic style through conflict involving those elements. Can do anything the first 20 minutes as long as it's consistent (as opposed to "it was all a dream").
2) character determines direction of event. Define characters by how they act, react to each other.
3) environment is also treated as a character.

# of acts in screenplay determined by points of no return -- shifts in character/motive/theme.

Films covered in lecture
Lawrence of Arabia
Stagecoach

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