2009 : several new pages on (dramatic) WRITING
... I had so many plans for this directory!
* The Compact Bedford Intro to Drama (textbook) *
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Annensky about Chekhov (in Russian, the summer read), I envy the style -- very personal, almost if he himself wrote the play, as if he knows them, Masha, Olga, Irina... The secondary characters became the heroes, the jerks, the types from the comedies -- and we got the tragedy, Beckett only finished this journey... Now -- The American mini-Chekhov!
Theory of Spectatorship
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA
Script Analysis Directory & DramLit
Featured Pages: See Online Plays listing!
NEW: 2005: total directing & total acting
QuestionsWriting Your First Play, Second Edition * Roger A. Hall, a professor of theatre at James Madison University, had taught playwriting for nearly 20 years. Many of his students have gone on to write for theatre, television, and the screen. He has written numerous plays and articles and has acted and directed extensively in the theatre.
2004 & After
Albee Conference, Alaska *
The Playwright's Process:
http://lib.ru/NABOKOW/esse_en.txt Playwrighting (Nabokov) * The lectures "The Tragedy of Tragedy" and "Playwriting" were composed for a course on drama that Nabokov gave at Stanford during the summer of 1941. (C)Article 3b Trust Under the Will of Vladimir Nabokov.
script.vtheatre.net/215/5anatolant.vtheatre.net/dramaturg[ Russian text ]
Well, I made a page "wright" to make sure you understaqnd the difference between "wright" and "write" -- right... and "wrong"...
Sample [handout] from dramatica.com
The workshop was led by Chris Huntley and attended by approximately twenty writers. The format was one in which Chris presented questions and collected responses from the workshop participants, then conclusions were drawn when possible. There were also handouts given and used during the course of the workshop.
This document is a rough approximation of the events and materials covered in the workshop.
Introduction -- Introduction Handout
The first item covered was the Introduction Handout.
Dramatica Theory Introduction - Workshop #1
To develop a writer's skills so that he or she can understand and appreciate how stories work on many levels. To connect a writer's general understanding of "story" to the specific approach found in the Dramatica Theory of Story.
The Theory of Story.
No Absolutes -- there are exceptions to almost everything. You do not need to own the Dramatica software to participate
GROUND RULES: Interaction and participation in discussions and exercises is encouraged. No one is required to participate -- just say "Pass." Recording the workshops by participants is acceptable and may be redistributed so long as it is for personal use only -- not for resale.
This was followed by brief introductions:
About Screenplay Systems
About Grammar of Drama
About the Workshops --
Six weeks [Bathroom breaks & location * Scope of workshops * Topics YOU'D like covered (handout) ]
Goal of Workshop #1: To Define our terms
Why do stories exist?
Why do we like to tell stories?
Why do we like to listen to stories?
People are vulnerable
tool for human development
to entertain and inform
to provide explanations
to describe our history
communication of messages
communicate cultural identity
propaganda, control others
escape from reality
to make sense of life
to learn about other peoples -experiences, backgrounds
You can pair up many of these- some from the author's side, some from the audience's side
The following exercise was passed out and everyone was given some time to answer the questions.
Exercise #1 - Defining our terms
As briefly as you can, write a definition or description for each of the following terms as they relate to creating, writing, or telling stories. Please be as accurate as you can.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF STORY?
A set of experiences having a beginning and an ending
A narrative sequence of events
A conflict of ideas that comes to a conclusion
author's best thoughts
a structured series ofevents with beginning, middle and end
a journey taken by someone to achieve a goal
a form of communication
narrative describing change
So there are quite a few definitions of a term that everyone uses, but is defined implicitly. However, there are many different definitions here.
Lets look at some of the key words here, that may help us understand story-
All these are pieces to what we call 'Story'
Defining some more terms:
Person with definable qualities
a participant in a story
a carrier of information/action in a story
someone who contributes to the story's effect on an audience
an entity, persona
anything that progresses a story
someone who explains or -contributes to events and in turn is influenced by them
a point of entry for the audience's participation
emotional tie that audience can relate to
Again, we have a very large range of definitions.
Any living/dead entity in a movie doesn't necessarily have to be a character- (an extra, bird flying by, etc.)
What seems to be more important is whether the entity is relevant to the story. 'Moving the story forward' also seems to be a significant definition.
(In a Dramatica sense, characters are the drivers or motivation of the story. But we'll get to that much later!)
WHAT IS PLOT?
The way the sequence of events are structured
a road map of the story
the focus of the story that creates tension, climax, and resolution
an event or series of events that creates conflict, resolution
it's what happens in a story. also the arrangement of the events
(not to worry about definitions in a literal sense, but what they feel or mean to you in an intuitive sense)
(Another suggestion is made: maybe one way is to take a specific movie, and ask 'what's the plot, who are / are not characters)
WHAT IS THEME?
The story's moral or message
lessons, ideas, conclusions that can be drawn from the story
reinforcement of a common truism, a satisfying feeling
One thing we see here is that for CHARACTERS, we had a bunch of different definitions. But for THEME there are a lot less- all the definitions we came up with are almost the same.
WHAT IS GENRE?
A Label for a story
A style of storytelling
The context in which the story is told
The story's setting
Way a story is presented, delivery
Author's desired impact on audience
Umbrella of overall feel of the story
Now let's go back to our definitions of STORY. In each, we can see elements of PLOT, CHARACTER, THEME, GENRE
What's NOT a story?
Random events not connected.
No intent or meaning
Anything without greater meaning or lesson, or message
So if those are true, a STORY is the flip of those things-
-Pattern of connected events (plot associated)
-[Author's] intent (genre associated)
-Greater meaning or lesson or message (theme associated)
-Relevance (character associated)
(plus characters, plot, theme, genre)
In a way, it was easier to define it by what it wasn't, because its such an amorphous, ambiguous term.
We're having such a hard time defining what a story IS, much less figure what a GOOD story is.
What makes a complete STORY? What makes an incomplete STORY?
-If the message is communicated to the audience
DRAMATICA DEFINITION OF STORY-
A Dramatica Story = an argument (in the legal sense- well-reasoned, well supported)
[ The next 6 weeks will be spent exploring this definition. ] Notice of course this definition is a lot different than what we came up with before.
MEANING- In Chris' definition of Story, this is the one thing that a STORY cannot be without. But...
What is MEANING?
the author's intent/ point
It's probably the biggest component of STORY, and probably the one thing everyone has the hardest time with writing STORIES.
How do you tell someone something has meaning, and then what that means? CONTEXT
CONTEXT is a frame of reference, a given, a defined relationship, an a priori assumption
A basic DRAMATICA premise is that MEANING comes from CONTEXT- If you take anything from these classes, take that!
(hard to define CONTEXT, but better to come up with SOME way- his explanation was a little vague)
Here is a definition of CONTEXT that was not presented in the workshop but satisfactorily describes Chris' definition of 'context:' That which surrounds, and gives meaning to, something else.
Definition of 'Context'
That which surrounds, and gives meaning to, something else
THE SNOW BALL EXERCISE:
The class was divided into four smaller groups. Each group was given a sheet of paper with one of the following and given five minutes to complete:
Describe a snowball purely in terms of its component ingredients.
Describe a snowball purely in terms of its colors and textures.
Describe a snowball purely in terms of its size and weight.
Describe a snowball purely in terms of its durability and "life cycle."
Once each group described the snowball, the descriptions were listed on the white board.
Chris told the class that they all had gotten the descriptions wrong. Chris then brought out package Hostess Sno Balls and explained that THIS is the type of snowball to which he was referring. He asked each group to remake their lists.
So in this exercise, context made a large difference in the definitions.
There were 4 different contexts in terms of the definitions, but there was also a larger context change based on what he meant by "snowball."
Each group was given another sheet of paper with one of the following and given five minutes to complete
Describe a scenario in which the snowball is responsible for the fate of the Earth.
Describe a scenario in which the snowball is an essential part of playing some sport.
Describe a scenario in which the snowball is hated beyond reason.
Describe a scenario in which the snowball is used to alter people's sensibilities.
In this exercise, we came up with a large number of imaginative scenarios, much more than the actual definition of a snowball.
Here are the results:Describe a scenario in which the snowball is responsible for the fate of the Earth.
Only food left
Snow ball consumption causes fanaticism
After snow balls are banned due to "Schedule 1" regulations and are stored away underground, they end up being the only food stuff's available after a catastrophe
Cause of childhood trauma for Hitler-esque nutcase gets power
Describe a scenario in which the snowball is an essential part of playing some sport....
No, Fuck You
written by David Benioff, from his novel
(Monty walks into the bathroom. He looks in the mirror. In the bottom corner, someone's written Fuck You!)[ main movie monologue page ]
Monty: Yeah, fuck you, too.
Monty's Reflection: Fuck me? Fuck you! Fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it.
Fuck the panhandlers, grubbing for money, and smiling at me behind my back.
Fuck squeegee men dirtying up the clean windshield of my car. Get a fucking job!
Fuck the Sikhs and the Pakistanis bombing down the avenues in decrepit cabs, curry steaming out their pores and stinking up my day. Terrorists in fucking training. Slow the fuck down!
Fuck the Chelsea boys with their waxed chests and pumped up biceps. Going down on each other in my parks and on my piers, jingling their dicks on my Channel 35.
Fuck the Korean grocers with their pyramids of overpriced fruit and their tulips and roses wrapped in plastic. Ten years in the country, still no speaky English?
Fuck the Russians in Brighton Beach. Mobster thugs sitting in caf¨¦s, sipping tea in little glasses, sugar cubes between their teeth. Wheelin' and dealin' and schemin'. Go back where you fucking came from!
Fuck the black-hatted Chassidim, strolling up and down 47th street in their dirty gabardine with their dandruff. Selling South African apartheid diamonds!
Fuck the Wall Street brokers. Self-styled masters of the universe. Michael Douglas, Gordon Gecko wannabe mother fuckers, figuring out new ways to rob hard working people blind. Send those Enron assholes to jail for fucking life! You think Bush and Cheney didn't know about that shit? Give me a fucking break! Tyco! Imclone! Adelphia! Worldcom!
Fuck the Puerto Ricans. 20 to a car, swelling up the welfare rolls, worst fuckin' parade in the city. And don't even get me started on the Dom-in-i-cans, because they make the Puerto Ricans look good.
Fuck the Bensonhurst Italians with their pomaded hair, their nylon warm-up suits, and their St. Anthony medallions. Swinging their, Jason Giambi, Louisville slugger, baseball bats, trying to audition for the Sopranos.
Fuck the Upper East Side wives with their Hermés scarves and their fifty-dollar Balducci artichokes. Overfed faces getting pulled and lifted and stretched, all taut and shiny. You're not fooling anybody, sweetheart!
Fuck the uptown brothers. They never pass the ball, they don't want to play defense, they take fives steps on every lay-up to the hoop. And then they want to turn around and blame everything on the white man. Slavery ended one hundred and thirty seven years ago. Move the fuck on!
Fuck the corrupt cops with their anus violating plungers and their 41 shots, standing behind a blue wall of silence. You betray our trust!
Fuck the priests who put their hands down some innocent child's pants. Fuck the church that protects them, delivering us into evil. And while you're at it, fuck JC! He got off easy! A day on the cross, a weekend in hell, and all the hallelujahs of the legioned angels for eternity! Try seven years in fuckin Otisville, Jay!
Fuck Osama Bin Laden, Alqueda, and backward-ass, cave-dwelling, fundamentalist assholes everywhere. On the names of innocent thousands murdered, I pray you spend the rest of eternity with your seventy-two whores roasting in a jet-fueled fire in hell. You towel headed camel jockeys can kiss my royal, Irish ass!
Fuck Jacob Elinski, whining malcontent.
Fuck Francis Xavier Slaughtery, my best friend, judging me while he stares at my girlfriend's ass.
Fuck Naturel Rivera. I gave her my trust and she stabbed me in the back. Sold me up the river. Fucking bitch.
Fuck my father with his endless grief, standing behind that bar. Sipping on club soda, selling whiskey to firemen and cheering the Bronx Bombers.
Fuck this whole city and everyone in it. From the row houses of Astoria to the penthouses on Park Avenue. From the projects in the Bronx to the lofts in Soho. From the tenements in Alphabet City to the brownstones in Park slope to the split levels in Staten Island. Let an earthquake crumble it. Let the fires rage. Let it burn to fuckin ash then let the waters rise and submerge this whole, rat-infested place.
Monty: No. No, fuck you, Montgomery Brogan. You had it all and then you threw it away, you dumb fuck!
(He takes a breath and tries to rub away the words.)
Russian Play (new)
Film-North * Anatoly Antohin
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