How to Format Dramatic Scenes

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Conflict is the key element of drama. Learn how to format dramatic scenes with help from a filmmaker and freelance editor in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking & Camera Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi guys. I'm Justin Z. I am a Los Angeles filmmaker and freelance editor for the entertainment industry. I've been getting some basic questions about filmmaking including this one, how do you construct a dramatic scene. Well there are three basic things you need to know about it. Who are the characters, what's happening in the scene and what is the conflict between the characters. So first and foremost in my opinion at least is the characters. They need to be well written characters with a good back story, a good plight to have and something that is relatable to the audience. You've got to make sure that you have all these three things and of course when you're shooting the scene you want to have a good actor that understands all this. These characters need to basically have a sense of humanity to them. In order to understand characters you need to understand people so you need some education into that or you're just really talented like, I don't know Spielberg or something like that but it's really important that you understand the characters and you understand why they're in the film, what they're doing there and what their issue is. Secondly the scene, what is going on in the scene, why is the character there, why is the other character there and why are they talking to each other. What happened in the scene before, what happened in the scene after, how does it affect the greater good of the entire movie? Every scene needs to be put together like this. Finally, the conflict, where is the conflict? Is the conflict between two characters, between multiple characters? Is the conflict in a person and the other two people are trying to get that conflict out or resolve it? Is the conflict in resolution? Are they trying to solve it? Are they trying to find out what the conflict is? And most importantly, is the conflict interesting? Think about things in your own personal life that have affected you good or bad in order to think about dramatic scenes when it comes to conflict, character and story. Then you'll be fine. So read some books on drama, character and story and you should be alright. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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