99 episodes

Two emerging screenwriters – Chas Fisher and Stuart Willis – try to work out what makes great screenplays work. Discovering what it takes by analysing what successful writers put on the page.

Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast Chas Fisher and Stuart Willis

    • TV & Film
    • 4.8 • 48 Ratings

Two emerging screenwriters – Chas Fisher and Stuart Willis – try to work out what makes great screenplays work. Discovering what it takes by analysing what successful writers put on the page.

    DZ-108: The Emotional Event with Judith Weston

    DZ-108: The Emotional Event with Judith Weston

    How and why should every scene have an emotional event?
    For the first episode of our tenth anniversary year, we are joined by Judith Weston to talk about Emotional Events. 
    What is an emotional event? Well, it’s a way of thinking about scenes through relationships rather than plot. Instead of asking how a scene moves the plot forward, ask how the scene alters the relationship between characters. While emotional events are ostensibly a tool for directors to interpret scenes, we believe that the emotional event starts with the writer(s).
    But it is an idea better illustrated through examples and discussion rather than sound bites. To that end, we breakdown scene from OPPENHEIMER, CASINO ROYALE (the Daniel Craig one), and PAST LIVES and explore how the emotional event is written (and not written) on the page. 
    Through a close reading of each scene, we talk about subtext, power dynamics, status transactions, tactics, beats and much much more. Because Chas, Stu and Judith are also reading the scripts there  lot of discussion about table reads and how to get the most out of them.
    For those unfamiliar with Judith, she is a famed teacher of writers, directors and actors with a focus on the directing or actors. Her books Directing Actors and The Film Director’s Intuition are basically industry standards. 
    You can find Judith Weston (and her books!) at her website: https://judithweston.com/web/
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for his excellent editing this episode.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND and all copyright material used under fair use for educational purposes.
    CHAPTERS:
    00:00:00 – Cold Open 00:00:30 – What is an emotional event? 00:13:48 – Oppenheimer 00:46:16 – Casino Royale 00:59:35 – Past Lives 01:30:20 – Key Learnings & Wrap Up 01:36:05 – Thanks to our Patreons RELATED EPISODES:
    DZ-08: Status Transactions – https://draft-zero.com/2014/dz-08/ DZ-40: Tactics and Scenes – https://draft-zero.com/2017/dz-40/ How can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Jennifer, Thomas, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.
    Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcasts or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.
    We are @stuwillis, and @chasffisher on twitter. You can find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.
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    • 1 hr 37 min
    DZ-107: Establishing Tone Through Character

    DZ-107: Establishing Tone Through Character

    How can we use dramatisation to create tone?
    In this episode, Chas and Stu continue their deep dive into how to write tone by examining films with “light” (we use the phrase loosely) tones: LADY BIRD, EMILY THE CRIMINAL, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, and SPONTANEOUS. We also talk a surprising amount about DUNE and CRAZY STUPID LOVE.
    We focus on the relationship between character & tone and how the writers of these films use dramatisation to create their unique tones. We talk minimalism vs maximalism, dialogue, character actions & reactions, emotional dynamic range, and rules of the world vs given circumstances.
    Stu proposes a new triangle to help us understand the dials we as writers have to affect tone: the given circumstances of the story, how that effects character actions & reactions, and how the audience are told about those elements.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for his excellent editing this episode.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND and all copyright material used under fair use for educational purposes.
    CHAPTERS:
    00:00:00 - Cold Open 00:00:23 - Tone & Character 00:15:26 - Ladybird 00:33:20 - Emily The Criminal 00:57:43 - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs 01:17:28 - Spontaneous 01:39:38 - Key Learnings & Wrap Up 01:51:58 - Many thanks to our Patreons RELATED EPISODES:
    DZ-105: Establishing Tone - Dark DZ-82: Dramatising Given Circumstances in Watchmen How can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Jennifer, Thomas, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.
    Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcasts or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.
    We are @stuwillis, and @chasffisher on twitter. You can find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.
    BUY DRAFT ZERO MERCH via TeePublic

    • 1 hr 54 min
    DZ-106: How do you know if you have enough story?

    DZ-106: How do you know if you have enough story?

    How do you know if you have enough narrative fuel to write a script?
    In this episode, Chas, Stu and Mel attempt to answer a listener question: 
    “In your own pre-writing process, how do you know you have enough for a feature? And do you have a specific pre-writing method you're going to?”
    Thus we launch into a discussion on our writing processes and the varying usefulness of tools such as log lines, turning points, beat sheets, synopsis, treatments, and scene breakdowns. We also tackle the challenges encountered while developing an idea to first draft, such as balancing the pace of the story, developing distinct character voices, character choices, plot changes, pacing, and thematic clarity.
    Is this backmatter? Or is it development tools? You decide! Hahaha.
    Thanks so much to Chris Walker for his excellent editing on this episode!
    CHAPTERS:
    00:00:00 - Cold Open 00:00:30 - Introduction: Falling Short 00:02:38 - Our Development Processes 00:33:06 - Developing from concept 00:45:26 - Sponsor: Arc Studio Pro 00:48:12 - Expanding your Idea 01:15:29 - Long Short Documents 01:27:22 - Consistent problems with first drafts 01:34:28 - Many thanks to our Patreons! This episode brought to you by (drum roll):
    ArcStudio: go to https://www.arcstudiopro.com/draftzero for $30 off a pro subscription! And how can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Casimir, Jennifer, Thomas, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.
    Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcasts or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.
    We are @stuwillis, @chasffisher and @mehlsbells on twitter. You can also find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.
    BUY DRAFT ZERO MERCH via TeePublic
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    • 1 hr 36 min
    DZ-105: Establishing Tone Through Big Print

    DZ-105: Establishing Tone Through Big Print

    How can we teach the reader to find the humour in our darkness?
    Chas and Stu finally start their long-mooted exploration of tone with a series that examines films and shows with unusual tones and dives into how the writers establish those tones in the first 5 pages.
    How does your script want your reader to experience violence in your story? Humour? Sex? Prejudice?
    To answer these questions, this episode look at how films with “darker” or “sadder” tones teach the reader what they can laugh at, namely: THE NICE GUYS, THE BANSHEES OF INISHIRIN and the pilot for YELLOWJACKETS.
    Together they learn how to better talk about tone, how to frame tone for a scene or sequence, and what levers writers can use on the page to compensate for cinematic tools like music, performance, composition, lighting, design, editing, etc etc etc.
    Future episodes plan to explore establishing lighter or quirkier tones, as well as tools in shifting or changing tone on the page.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND and all copyright material used under fair use for educational purposes.
    CHAPTERS:
    00:00:00 - Cold Open 00:00:32 - What is tone? 00:25:00 - The Nice Guys 00:55:07 - Sponsor: Arc Studio Pro 00:57:23 - The Banshees of Inisherin 01:25:06 - Yellowjackets 01:53:30 - Key Learnings & Wrap Up 02:04:40 - Many thanks to our Patreons! RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-60: Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 1) - Engaging imagination DZ-61: Unfilmables 2 – Moments of Awe This episode brought to you by (drum roll):
    ArcStudio: go to https://www.arcstudiopro.com/draftzero for $30 off a pro subscription! And how can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Casimir, Jennifer, Thomas, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.
    Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcasts or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.
    We are @stuwillis, and @chasffisher on twitter. You can find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.
    BUY DRAFT ZERO MERCH via TeePublic
    SUBSCRIBE TO SHOT ZERO via Substack

    • 2 hrs 6 min
    DZ-104: Characters Alone - Dramatizing the Internal

    DZ-104: Characters Alone - Dramatizing the Internal

    How can scenes where characters are alone increase our connection with them?
    In this episode, we explore the audience's connection with characters through the lens of characters being alone.
    Chas and Stu breakdown scenes (and their scripts) from AFTERSUN, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and THE EQUALIZER to discuss the significance of solitude in giving the audience insight into a character’s interiority. We talk how big print can reflect character; how finding moments for vulnerability allows characters to drop their masks; and how staging can help these moments occur organically.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND and all copyright material used under fair use for educational purposes.
    CHAPTERS
    00:00:02 - Cold Open 00:00:24 - Intro: Character's Alone 00:13:04 - Aftersun 00:31:55 - Sponsor: Arc Studio Pro 00:34:16 - Sense and Sensibility 00:59:59 - The Equalizer 01:25:02 - Wrap Up & Key Learnings 01:28:34 - Many thanks to our Patreons! RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-99: Scene Questions DZ-93: Talismans (Part 1) DZ-94 Talismans (Part 2) DZ-60: Unfilmables and Unscriptables (Part 1) - Engaging imagination RELATED LINKS
    Shot Zero: www.shot-zero.com Restoration: www.restorationseries.com This episode brought to you by (drum roll):
    ArcStudio: go to https://www.arcstudiopro.com/draftzero for $30 off a pro subscription! And how can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Malay, Casimir, Jennifer, Thomas, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.
    Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcasts or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.
    We are @stuwillis, and @chasffisher on twitter. You can find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.
    BUY DRAFT ZERO MERCH via TeePublic
    SUBSCRIBE TO SHOT ZERO via Substack

    • 1 hr 29 min
    DZ-103: Game of the Scene 2 - Triangle of Sadness, The Favourite

    DZ-103: Game of the Scene 2 - Triangle of Sadness, The Favourite

    How can games elevate dramatic scenes?
    In part two of this two parter, Stu and Chas go further into the game (of the scene) and look at how games force characters *other* than the protagonist to interact. We deep dive into the wonderful social satires of TRIANGLE OF SADNESS and THE FAVOURITE.
    We discuss how games reveal character through competency and decisions, how resources and skills impact the tactics that characters employ, and the difference between referees, rule lawyers, rule makers and rule breakers.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND and all copyright material used under fair use for educational purposes.
    CHAPTERS
    00:00:00 - Cold Open 00:00:19 - Sponsor: ScriptUp 00:01:45 - Intro: Follow up 00:10:50 - Triangle of Sadness (Parts 1 and 2) 00:35:37 - Sponsor: Arc Studio Pro 00:38:25 - Triangle of Sadness (Part 3) 00:52:51 - The Favourite 01:30:34 - Wrap Up & Key Learnings 01:40:30 - Thanks to our Patreons! RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-102: Game of the Scene 1 - Bluey, John Wick 4 DZ-99: Scene Questions DZ-40: Tactics and Scenes RELATED LINKS
    IMDB: Molli and Max in the Future Letterboxd: Molli and Max in the Future This episode brought to you by (drum roll):
    ScriptUp: https://www.scriptupstudio.com – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off ArcStudio: go to https://www.arcstudiopro.com/draftzero for $30 off a pro subscription! And how can we forget our awesome Patreons, especially Lily,  Alexandre, Casimir, Jennifer, Thomas, Garrett, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, and Khrob.
    Please considering rating or subscribing to us on Apple Podcasts or sharing us on the Social Medias! We like finding new listeners.
    We are @stuwillis, and @chasffisher on twitter. You can find @draft_zero and @_shotzero on Instagram and Twitter.
    BUY DRAFT ZERO MERCH via TeePublic
    SUBSCRIBE TO SHOT ZERO via our many social medias!

    • 1 hr 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

Geoff Costello ,

Genuine, funny as two screenwriters explore what makes scripts work

The episodes can be long, discursive and go way way off track... but the two hosts are in the business, care deeply and use the show to explore a d learn ideas, usually related to real movies and scripts. I love browsing the back catalogue of episodes and get a lot from most of them...

Sophie (Paris) ,

Godsend!

Thanks guys for making these past two months a lot more bearable. What a discovery! Favourite episodes as a beginner - 31 and 54.

MostiView ,

Great love it

I’m a late podie on here, been binge listening on your shows over past few weeks.. I’m a complete novice, but the podcast has me feeling confirmed in my current screen writing efforts. Though I’m choosing to live in denial around the difficulties of break into the industry ...

Thanks a million

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