Sunday, March 28, 2010

David Mamet's brilliant memo on drama

I discovered this extraordinary memo from David Mamet to the writers of THE UNIT, a series he created a few semesters back for CBS. (The origination of the memo seems to have come from Ink Canada. I discovered it through Movie Line.)

It is a simply brilliant essay on drama and writing in general. In fact, it’s pretty much all you need to know about writing drama. Excuse that it’s written in caps. I didn’t want to change a single letter.
“TO THE WRITERS OF THE UNIT

GREETINGS.

AS WE LEARN HOW TO WRITE THIS SHOW, A RECURRING PROBLEM BECOMES CLEAR.

THE PROBLEM IS THIS: TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN DRAMA AND NON-DRAMA. LET ME BREAK-IT-DOWN-NOW.

EVERYONE IN CREATION IS SCREAMING AT US TO MAKE THE SHOW CLEAR. WE ARE TASKED WITH, IT SEEMS, CRAMMING A SHITLOAD OF INFORMATION INTO A LITTLE BIT OF TIME.

OUR FRIENDS. THE PENGUINS, THINK THAT WE, THEREFORE, ARE EMPLOYED TO COMMUNICATE INFORMATION — AND, SO, AT TIMES, IT SEEMS TO US.

BUT NOTE:THE AUDIENCE WILL NOT TUNE IN TO WATCH INFORMATION. YOU WOULDN’T, I WOULDN’T. NO ONE WOULD OR WILL. THE AUDIENCE WILL ONLY TUNE IN AND STAY TUNED TO WATCH DRAMA.

QUESTION:WHAT IS DRAMA? DRAMA, AGAIN, IS THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL.

SO: WE, THE WRITERS, MUST ASK OURSELVES OF EVERY SCENE THESE THREE QUESTIONS.

1) WHO WANTS WHAT?
2) WHAT HAPPENS IF HER DON’T GET IT?
3) WHY NOW?

THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS ARE LITMUS PAPER. APPLY THEM, AND THEIR ANSWER WILL TELL YOU IF THE SCENE IS DRAMATIC OR NOT.

IF THE SCENE IS NOT DRAMATICALLY WRITTEN, IT WILL NOT BE DRAMATICALLY ACTED.

THERE IS NO MAGIC FAIRY DUST WHICH WILL MAKE A BORING, USELESS, REDUNDANT, OR MERELY INFORMATIVE SCENE AFTER IT LEAVES YOUR TYPEWRITER. YOU THE WRITERS, ARE IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE EVERY SCENE IS DRAMATIC.

THIS MEANS ALL THE “LITTLE” EXPOSITIONAL SCENES OF TWO PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD. THIS BUSHWAH (AND WE ALL TEND TO WRITE IT ON THE FIRST DRAFT) IS LESS THAN USELESS, SHOULD IT FINALLY, GOD FORBID, GET FILMED.

IF THE SCENE BORES YOU WHEN YOU READ IT, REST ASSURED IT WILL BORE THE ACTORS, AND WILL, THEN, BORE THE AUDIENCE, AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE BACK IN THE BREADLINE.

SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC. IT IS NOT THE ACTORS JOB (THE ACTORS JOB IS TO BE TRUTHFUL). IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST. IT IS YOUR JOB.

EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.

THIS NEED IS WHY THEY CAME. IT IS WHAT THE SCENE IS ABOUT. THEIR ATTEMPT TO GET THIS NEED MET WILL LEAD, AT THE END OF THE SCENE,TO FAILURE - THIS IS HOW THE SCENE IS OVER. IT, THIS FAILURE, WILL, THEN, OF NECESSITY, PROPEL US INTO THE NEXT SCENE.

ALL THESE ATTEMPTS, TAKEN TOGETHER, WILL, OVER THE COURSE OF THE EPISODE, CONSTITUTE THE PLOT.

ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN.

YES BUT YES BUT YES BUT, YOU SAY: WHAT ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF WRITING IN ALL THAT “INFORMATION?”

AND I RESPOND “FIGURE IT OUT” ANY DICKHEAD WITH A BLUESUIT CAN BE (AND IS) TAUGHT TO SAY “MAKE IT CLEARER”, AND “I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM”.

WHEN YOU’VE MADE IT SO CLEAR THAT EVEN THIS BLUESUITED PENGUIN IS HAPPY, BOTH YOU AND HE OR SHE WILL BE OUT OF A JOB.

THE JOB OF THE DRAMATIST IS TO MAKE THE AUDIENCE WONDER WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. NOT TO EXPLAIN TO THEM WHAT JUST HAPPENED, OR TO*SUGGEST* TO THEM WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

ANY DICKHEAD, AS ABOVE, CAN WRITE, “BUT, JIM, IF WE DON’T ASSASSINATE THE PRIME MINISTER IN THE NEXT SCENE, ALL EUROPE WILL BE ENGULFED IN FLAME”

WE ARE NOT GETTING PAID TO REALIZE THAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS THIS INFORMATION TO UNDERSTAND THE NEXT SCENE, BUT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WRITE THE SCENE BEFORE US SUCH THAT THE AUDIENCE WILL BE INTERESTED IN WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

YES BUT, YES BUT YES BUT YOU REITERATE.

AND I RESPOND FIGURE IT OUT.

HOW DOES ONE STRIKE THE BALANCE BETWEEN WITHHOLDING AND VOUCHSAFING INFORMATION? THAT IS THE ESSENTIAL TASK OF THE DRAMATIST. AND THE ABILITY TO DO THAT IS WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM THE LESSER SPECIES IN THEIR BLUE SUITS.

FIGURE IT OUT.

START, EVERY TIME, WITH THIS INVIOLABLE RULE: THE SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. it must start because the hero HAS A PROBLEM, AND IT MUST CULMINATE WITH THE HERO FINDING HIM OR HERSELF EITHER THWARTED OR EDUCATED THAT ANOTHER WAY EXISTS.

LOOK AT YOUR LOG LINES. ANY LOGLINE READING “BOB AND SUE DISCUSS…” IS NOT DESCRIBING A DRAMATIC SCENE.

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR OUTLINES ARE, GENERALLY, SPECTACULAR. THE DRAMA FLOWS OUT BETWEEN THE OUTLINE AND THE FIRST DRAFT.

THINK LIKE A FILMMAKER RATHER THAN A FUNCTIONARY, BECAUSE, IN TRUTH, YOU ARE MAKING THE FILM. WHAT YOU WRITE, THEY WILL SHOOT.

HERE ARE THE DANGER SIGNALS. ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER “AS YOU KNOW”, THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

DO NOT WRITE A CROCK OF SHIT. WRITE A RIPPING THREE, FOUR, SEVEN MINUTE SCENE WHICH MOVES THE STORY ALONG, AND YOU CAN, VERY SOON, BUY A HOUSE IN BEL AIR AND HIRE SOMEONE TO LIVE THERE FOR YOU.

REMEMBER YOU ARE WRITING FOR A VISUAL MEDIUM. MOST TELEVISION WRITING, OURS INCLUDED, SOUNDS LIKE RADIO. THE CAMERA CAN DO THE EXPLAINING FOR YOU. LET IT. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERS DOING -*LITERALLY*. WHAT ARE THEY HANDLING, WHAT ARE THEY READING. WHAT ARE THEY WATCHING ON TELEVISION, WHAT ARE THEY SEEING.

IF YOU PRETEND THE CHARACTERS CANT SPEAK, AND WRITE A SILENT MOVIE, YOU WILL BE WRITING GREAT DRAMA.

IF YOU DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF THE CRUTCH OF NARRATION, EXPOSITION,INDEED, OF SPEECH. YOU WILL BE FORGED TO WORK IN A NEW MEDIUM - TELLING THE STORY IN PICTURES (ALSO KNOWN AS SCREENWRITING)

THIS IS A NEW SKILL. NO ONE DOES IT NATURALLY. YOU CAN TRAIN YOURSELVES TO DO IT, BUT YOU NEED TO START.

I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF “IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY.

IF THE ANSWER IS “NO” WRITE IT AGAIN OR THROW IT OUT. IF YOU’VE GOT ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME UP.

LOVE, DAVE MAMET
SANTA MONICA 19 OCTO 05

(IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW THE ANSWERS, BUT IT IS YOUR, AND MY, RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW AND TO ASK THE RIGHT Questions OVER AND OVER. UNTIL IT BECOMES SECOND NATURE. I BELIEVE THEY ARE LISTED ABOVE.)”

50 comments:

amyp3 said...

God, I hate to be reminded of the truth of all these things. I already knew that the scene in the car with the two people talking about two other people, and the one at the dance studio that ends with a thud, and all the scenes in the dorm room and at the party, yes, those are all worthless. I knew it. But I just told myself,
"Lalalala, I can't hear you."

Then David Frickin Mamet and Ken Levine have to come along and force me to face it and do something about it.

Back to my drawing board.

Mary Stella said...

Same thing in novel writing.

Show, don't tell.

No info dump.

Dudleys Mom said...

Awesome.

Eve said...

Anyone else think Mamet's memo is overwritten?

Anonymous said...

How exactly did you "discover" this on another website? Isn't just called linking?

JasonC said...

Yeah, I thought it was quite funny how huge a reaction that got when it's really pretty (literally) textbook advice. But, always worth remembering. And who better than Mamet to express it most concisely.

scottmc said...

When I saw this on a theatre-related site a few days ago I thought about sending it to you but I worried about its possibly being too long, and all in caps. I am glad that you found it and shared it.

Dave Williams said...

Eve...

Yeah. I thought Mamet's memo was pretty much what I've thought of most of his plays: one single, intriguing and compelling thought beaten into a coma for two hours.

But I'm nobody. What the hell.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Yeah. I thought Mamet's memo was pretty much what I've thought of most of his plays: one single, intriguing and compelling thought beaten into a coma for two hours.

Just came out of my Mamet-induced coma. I hope the alien colonization hasn't happened. ;)

Eve said...

We all know Mamet has a problem with women, but reading his memo, I'm struck with his anger in general. Any director, executive, or actor would bristle at this memo. I admire his ability to make the reader/viewer bristle. He incites argument. "Actors are more than just truthful! Directors do more than shoot straight! Suits are not penguins...uh,wait..." But I do love reading this reiteration of core dramatic principles. They apply to all art. Thanks, Ken.

The Bouncing Bird said...

I completely forget where I heard about this (thought it was you, guess not), but I thought you'd get a kick out of it. :)

http://oldjewstellingjokes.com/

The site is exactly what it sounds like. :) It's fantastic.

esme said...

The exception to the need-for-drama rule, though, is clearly the West Wing. Those well-written walking/talking scenes were brilliant.

k said...

As soft-core,poli-porn, soap-opera, fantasy the rules of drama don't apple to the West Wing.

Someone please send this memo to René Balcer.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Someone please send this memo to René Balcer.

It's too late for him! Save yourself!

Rebecca said...

"ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN."

Seems to me like that's the core. Just do that over and over again, rewrite until you have a bunch of good standalone scenes that advance the plot, until you get to the end. Or, at least, the more of these you've got,the better the movie.

gih said...

I really love this show. I got an original copy of this movie. The Unit.

Mark said...

The reason so many books on how to write are flabby and useless is that they don't address this stuff. Maybe that explains the proliferation of flabby useless writers.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the great Bob and Ray, who once had a character cry out in one of their serials: "Arggh! You snuck in my lavish penthouse overlooking Manhattan wearing the disguise of someone I don't know, and shot me with that gun you are holding!"

Anonymous said...

Apply this to movie trailers as well. If the trailer says
'In a story about...' skip the movie.
Compare to the trailer for The Godfather, with no words at all, and revealing almost the entire plot right in the trailer.

Jeff said...

Aside from the great advice, interesting that he refers to scenes leaving your "typewriter." Was he recycling an old memo...or does he really still use a typewriter? (I had an Olivetti portable typewriter that I loved and miss, sorta). Any writers out there still use manual or electric typewriters? Must be a bitch finding replacement ribbons.

Mike in SLO said...

My favorite is what a Director's job is: "...TO REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST." Yes, that's it in a nutshell.

Ted said...

Which leads right into a Friday Question:

Law & Order has been breaking this rule in every scene of every hour for 20 years, and it's still a pretty good show. Why?

Alan Coil said...

Jeff -- Harlan Ellison still uses a manual typewriter. 120+ words a minute. Many, many years of practice.
___________________

Ted -- Law & Order isn't good.
_______________

Eve said: "Any director, executive, or actor would bristle at this memo."

If they do, they've got a chip on their shoulder and deserve to be mocked.

A. Buck Short said...

Of all the pieces of writing advice I’ve ever been given, I would have to say this is certainly one of the mametiest! But I refuse to believe anybody outside of the PD still wears blue suits.

No idea whether Mr. Mamet has a problem with women but I'll lay ya’ ten to one, under certain circumstances, there’s a definite aversion to the SHIFT KEY.

I still haven’t even figured out whether it’s MAMM-et or Mam-ET or MAM-ET. BTW, based on recent experience I’d also like to add that, no matter how much I’d be willing to trust my life to The Unit, rarely is anyone in good hands with Allstate.

Anonymous said...

Alan Coil:

You forgot to mention Harlan's freezer-full of ribbons.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading an interview with a drama writer and he said very early on that he learned that you never put two characters in a scene who agree with each other. Is this true for you?

blogward said...

Always put GOATS in your scene, I was told... Goal, Obstacle, Action, Tactics, Stakes.

Max Clarke said...

Thanks for posting the Mamet memo.

It's a tough memo, but he doesn't get personal about it. No names, no name-calling. Third party exposition is death to momentum, he speaks the truth.

Would be good to see a similar memo about comedy writing. To rework the phrase, drama writing is easy, comedy is hard.

Jonathan said...

The thing I love about this memo (aside from the ALL CAPS) is the way it underscores how little respect many writers (and executives) give the audience. Mamet seems to understand that making the audience work for the rewards of the story might actually foster some devotion to the series in addition to just being a better form of storytelling.

Tom Quigley said...

Max Clarke said...

" To rework the phrase, drama writing is easy, comedy is hard.
"
....

Good comedy in fact also comes from drama, or more appropriately, conflict. The difference is comedy takes an unexpected turn meant to provoke laughter instead of fear or anxiety, but the basis for finding the comedy is the same: "...THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL."

Take the example Ken posted a short while back of Niles setting fire to the sofa. All the elements of drama are in that scene. What's funny is Niles' action, reaction or response. But it all came from his needing to iron his pants ("ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL.").

I once wrote a WKRP spec (for THE NEW WKRP syndicated series, not the original CBS series) in which the Carlsons are led to believe that they might not actually own the radio station, and have to make the choice of whether to try and take it back or be willing to legally give it to the person they think is the rightful owner. I wrote the spec because I couldn't think of a more dramatic conflict that the Carlsons could possibly face.

D. McEwan said...

Well he's just reduced Hamlet to 20 minutes, mostly sword fights. The ghost had to go because he was talking to Hamelt about Claudius and Gertrude, and they weren't in the scene.

I might take to Mr. Mamet's dictums more kindly if he he'd STOP SHOUTING AT ME!!

The director's job being to tell the actors to talk fast did remind me of a director I did a nuimber of shows with, who is still, 40 years on, a close friend. His basic note after any run-through was "I want to take 10 minutes off this act without cutting a word."

Tom said...

I totally get "don't tell, show," but if this -- ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT -- is the case, does that mean "Waiting for Godot" isn't drama?

Anonymous said...

I decided to apply "David Mamet's Brilliant Memo On Drama" along with a dash of Ken Levine and a teaspoon of Tom Quigley to my life.
You know, the day to day stuff.
Here's what I got outta this new found clarity. I decided to leave my husband today. So, after an afternoon of orgasmic earth shaking sex, I broke the news to him. He had a very DRAMATIC look on his face. I feel good. Really good. Thanks fellas.

Alan Coil said...

One of the Anony-mouses said: "You forgot to mention Harlan's freezer-full of ribbons."

Yes, I did. Forgot about them. He also has a guy who fixes those old typewriters when they break. And I forget the number, but I believe he has over 20 manual typewriters.

Tom Quigley said...

Anonymous 6:37 --

Glad I could help...

Forex Trading System said...

he is a great guy about the drama writter.
Only One word to characterize such a great post “WOW” that was a very interesting read

Brian Phillips said...

Wonderful memo. In comedy, there are several phrases that mimic the "As you know..." rule, one is "let me get this straight", another one that has fallen out of vogue is, "cut to the chase".

From Max Wilk's book "The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood", Robert Wise met John Ford and asked for pointers on being a director. Ford told him to go learn something about film editor. Wise, after moving from editing to directing, went to Ford one day and asked why John Wayne was successful in two films that Wayne and Ford did, yet Wayne was not successful in two films Ford didn't direct. Ford asked Wise to count the number of Wayne speeches in the first Ford film in question and Wise said there were fourteen. Ford asked Wise to count the number of speeches in the second film and the number was fourteen as well.

"That's the secret with actors," said Ford. "Don't let any of 'em talk!"

One day I would like to see a script that attacks this convention: when a character recalls a story, there is almost always a flashback in which the narrator is not present. I'd like to see a part of the script in which the characters talk in gibberish and gesticulate, while the narrator says, "I don't know what they said, I wasn't in the room at the time".

A_Homer said...

Reading this with the seriousness implied of all caps, I am reminded of a Spongebob cartoon. In it, Plankton wants to paint his restaraunt, and not unlike Huck Finn, convinces Patrick and Spongebob, and eventually Squidward to do the labor for him. The show proceeds along the logical route of all this being a ruse for Plankton to keep everyone busy so he can steal the KrabbyPatty formula. Only in the last minutes, literally the last few scenes, does the proprieter / boss Mr Krabbs show up in a taxi, carrying his suitcases, dressed as if he's been on a safari, surveys the situation and demands to know what's been going on. At that moment Spongebob turns to him and says something to the effect of: "Mr.Krabs, you're back from your vacation!" immediately followed with a brightly lit, Vegas style neon flashing sign spelling "EXPOSITION" that appears above Spongebob. Brilliant "fix" and had me wondering how many of purported children audience knew what that word meant. Maybe it was a response from the authors to a note...

Grace said...

I have no idea who Mamet is or what his opinion of women is, but I didn't read this memo as being angry, just passionate and to the point (with many glaring grammatical errors, but I guess we can let those slide since the information in it was so sound.)

It was addressed to the writers, not the directors, executives, or actors, so I don't see why they'd take offense.


Eve said...
We all know Mamet has a problem with women, but reading his memo, I'm struck with his anger in general. Any director, executive, or actor would bristle at this memo.

Patrick said...

TOM said, "...but if this -- ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT -- is the case, does that mean 'Waiting for Godot' isn't drama?"

Any acting troupe of any merit and accomplishment with the HARD works would tell you that GODOT has a boatload of vaudvillian comedy inherent in its contortions of exposition in reference to an off-stage, third character. I saw Tony Shalhoub do this play brilliantly a decade ago. He was hysterical, and absolutely precise with his comic timing, yet just as devasting with his ability to reveal the deep, dramatic undertones of this insanely funny AND dramatic theatre anomaly.

I would have to say that GODOT is more a comedy than it is a drama. But more importantly, it goes above and beyond both disciplines, which is why it is so often hacked to pieces by those that just don't want to (or know how to)
acknowledge its vaudvillian structure.

Also, if you dig this memo, and you haven't read Mamet's TRUE AND FALSE, you have only heard an introduction to where this man will go in his disgust and frustration with most modern approaches toward theatre, film and t.v.. What a shame that the execs and the general public will only suffer his honesty, and not truly follow his lead - who knows, entertainment might actually become entertaining MOST of the time, instead of on very rare occasions.

"Show business is and has always been a depraved carnival." - DAVID MAMET, True and False

roger said...

With a few added F-bombs, I can totally picture Alec Baldwin screaming this to an office full of writers.

MattDW said...

Since we're all in agreement that this is terrific advice that means none of us ever miss THE UNIT, right? Right?

Michael Zand said...

Brian,

I wish "Cut to the chase" had fallen out of vogue. I still hear it on TV and even features all the time. I swear I even heard it in a period piece that took place in the early 1900's. Were people that versed with film cliches back then?

Another current chestnut I wish would be banished along with "Don't go there" is "I get it." I swear I hear that at least five times in every tv drama these days. It's such a lazy transitional crutch. That, and actors who sniff (like they're inhaling some loose snot) all the time to show how "in the moment" they are, throw me right out of the story.

I get that "you get it" you lazy ass writers. Now, for the love of God, please stop.

Phil said...

Mamet’s criticism reminds me of Elmore Leonard’s advice: “When you write, try to leave out all the parts the readers skip.”

Karen said...

MR. MAMET: WELCOME TO TELEVISION!

YOUR FAN,
KAREN HALL

Anonymous said...

There's one problem, this was written _before_ The Unit started, and yet the show sucks.

Also, Samuel Beckett calls bullshit on this.

Best Man Speeches said...

The David Frickin Mamet and Ken Levine have to come along and force me to face it and do something about it.

tks said...

Is anyone else at least mildly disconcerted by the nature of his memo? To send a letter, in all caps no less, to professional writers about how they have produced poor product is nothing short of toxic leadership. Sure, he might not have intended it to sound belligerent, likely he was shooting for inspired. But if you want to inspire others to excel, telling your team they’ve not only failed to actualize your vision but that they’ve failed to satisfy the basic premise of drama writing is a surefire way to lose their trust. It’s passive aggressive, top down venting. Screenwriting, insofar as I understand, is a collaborative process. I could go into basic leadership 101 but maybe no one’s interested….?

If he’s not satisfied with what their team is accomplishing, maybe he should consider what role he and the other ‘leaders’ are playing. Best of luck to those involved, I would hate to have to work in that environment.

Pat Quinn said...

Thinking about the Lost finale I had to go back and re-read this memo.

I think that the Lost writers were 100% successful in making sure that every scene since the first scene followed MAMET's advice.

That includes the last scene...which I did not like. I wanted more. But the more I think about it...they really did keep every scene DRAMATIC.

Anonymous said...

>>ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

The British mini-series I, CLAUDIUS happens to be filled with scenes of two people discussing a third... and they are absolutely spine-tingling drama.

dq405