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The best drama may not be written

For reasons I will not go into, I watched some of Judge Judy and Dragons' Den today. Several things struck me: how educative the American insistence on showing everything, warts and all, can be. I am not sure that the people who rioted recently would appreciate that, but it is refreshing that the Americans wear so much on their sleeves. And with the British courts being about to be televised (the judgements only I think), I wonder if this will change the way that legal drama has to be written?

When the reconstructions of accidents series started (also on American television), it certainly made audiences less satisfied with pale drama, which however dramatic lacked the extra dimension of not actually being true.

Dragon's Den is quite moving: I suspect that a nerdish analysis could fit most of the applicant's experiences to Chris Vogler's brillliant reconstruction of Joseph Campbell's myth deconstruction: there is a journey, there are thresholds, mentors and a return with the elixir (or not).

These programmes are inherently dramatic; yet so many of the scripts we see being submitted lack the basic dramatic construction that will hook and engage and move the audience. I become more and more convinced that the majority of writers want to be called 'writers' but are not storytellers. They should not try to make a living writing. Maybe I am just becoming a grumpy old man.....That series was also quite dramatic.


Chris Vogler will be the keynote speaker at the next London Screenwriters' Festival in London at the end of October: it is an event not to be missed if you have any interest in writing at all.


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