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Showing posts from August, 2016

Conviction, Ground Control and the well-made play

I listen to more than one podcast about the art of screenwriting. No wonder that people think they want to write movies and television. There’s an industry of books and podcasts and lectures that break down the rules of screenwriting. It’s the three-act structure. It’s the hero with a thousand faces. It’s Robert Mckee’s Story.
Theatre, though, is struggle. Michael Gow spoke about “The Agony and the Agony” in his keynote address at the National Play Festival. It wasn’t, as I suspected, just about the agony of writing, but about the struggle of the characters – from moment to moment and scene to scene.
Agony derives from the greek “agon” meaning “contest”. It’s where we get the terms protagonist and antagonist from. The person we want to win the contest and the person who is trying to stop them from winning the contest. This is particularly clear in film and screenwriting books.
Gow has an addiction to self-help and “how to write” books. When I did his masterclass as part of the Play F…