91 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
    • 4.9 • 43 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-89: Opening Sequences

    DZ-89: Opening Sequences

    How does your opening sequence set up your audience? Inspired by her tweet on how subversive an opening OCEAN’S ELEVEN has, Chas and Stu invited amazing writer/director Jessica Ellis onto the show to deep dive into opening sequences. How does a good opening setup character, genre, and theme?
    In exploring how best to open your story - instead of looking at the almost mandatory studio note of “dropping you in the action” - Stu, Chas and Jess look at the inventive openings of OCEAN’S ELEVEN, LONG SHOT, ARRIVAL and A SERIOUS MAN. Each of these films opens in a way that seems to defy its genre conventions and yet still provide all the set-up it needs to perfectly tell its story.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND.
    Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.
    CHAPTERS
    00:00:56 - Intro 00:12:04 - Ocean’s Eleven 00:30:26 - Long Shot 01:01:32 - Arrival 01:22:22 - A Serious Man 01:41:17 - Wrap Up 01:46:47 - Patreon thanks LINKS
    Jessica Ellis: https://twitter.com/baddestmamajama What Lies West: https://linktr.ee/whatlieswest RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-15: World Building Rules, Okay? DZ-43: Driving Sequences – Character and Plot Intensity
    DZ-44: Marvel, First Acts and Establishing Characters  
    This episode brought to you by ScriptUp – https://www.scriptupstudio.com – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off.
    Thanks to all our patrons, especially Casimir, Lloyd, Eduardo, Jennifer, Leigh, Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Alex and Khrob. You rule!
    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. And you can find @draft_zero on Instagram and Twitter.

    • 1 hr 48 min
    DZ-88: Drama in Genre clothing

    DZ-88: Drama in Genre clothing

    How can dramas use genre elements to hook their audiences?
    Stu and Chas reunite with TV writer & director Kodie Bedford to look at how some films start out as genre but gradually become character dramas. Or, as Stu never said on the episode "Genre in the streets, Drama in the sheets".
    Together, they break down HUSTLERS, PIG and POWER OF THE DOG, to see how these films use their genre trappings to hook their audience while ultimately delivering something else entirely. We discuss chapter breaks, inciting incidents, character questions, theme and MORE.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND.
    Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.
    CHAPTERS 00:00:01 - Intro 00:00:56 - Drama in Genre Clothing 00:02:21 - Sam Elliot on Power of the Dog 00:03:19 - Lessons from Keeping Genre Fresh 00:08:14 - Hustlers 00:43:58 - Pig 01:16:24 - The Power of the Dog 01:55:02 - Key Learnings and Wrap Up LINKS
    Kodie Bedford: https://twitter.com/ms_kodie Authentic Storytelling – Kodie Bedford: Breaking Down Characters And Worlds RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-87: Keeping genre fresh – Get Out, Promising Young Woman, and The Invisible Man This episode brought to you by ScriptUp – https://www.scriptupstudio.com – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off.
    Thanks to all our patrons, especially Lloyd, Eduardo, Jennifer, Leigh, Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, Alex and Khrob. You rule!
    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. And you can find @draft_zero on Instagram and Twitter.

    • 2 hrs 6 min
    DZ-87: Keeping Genre fresh

    DZ-87: Keeping Genre fresh

    How do you deliver on the emotional contract of a genre while surprising the audience?
    In tackling this enormous topic, Stu and Chads enlist professional TV writer and director for Kodie Bedford, someone who has somehow managed to defy genre pigeon-holing by writing mystery, comedy and vampire shows.
    The three of them look at GET OUT, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN and THE INVISIBLE MAN (with reference to PARASITE, JOHN WICK, TAKEN, KNIVES OUT and more) to see what tools the writers have used to deliver on the expectations of a genre while moving that genre on, without writing something stale.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND
    Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.
    Thanks to Chris for editing this episode.
    CHAPTERS
    00:00:57 - Intro: Keeping Genre Fresh 00:03:10 - What is Genre? 00:16:30 - Get Out 00:45:10 - Promising Young Woman 01:25:08 - The Invisible Man 01:59:18 - Wrap Up 02:11:44 - Thanks to our Patreons! LINKS
    Freshening Up Genre - Stu's Notes: https://www.patreon.com/posts/64358617 Kodie Bedford: https://twitter.com/ms_kodie Authentic Storytelling – Kodie Bedford: Breaking Down Characters And Worlds RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-68: Using POV to structure KNIVES OUT: http://draft-zero.com/2020/dz-68/ DZ-69: PARASITE & Audience Questions: http://draft-zero.com/2020/dz-69/ DZ-54: Thematic Sequences: http://draft-zero.com/2018/dz-54/ This episode brought to you by ScriptUp – https://www.scriptupstudio.com – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off.
    Thanks to all our patrons, especially Jennifer, Leigh, Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis, Alex, 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. And you can find @draft_zero on Instagram and Twitter.

    • 2 hrs 13 min
    DZ-86: Backmatter - Minimum Viable Product

    DZ-86: Backmatter - Minimum Viable Product

    How do you determine what is your MVP?
    In their annual full backwater episode, Stu and Chas let out their pandemic hair, drop the ruse of objectivity, and allow themselves to have even more options about writing and the business of writing.
    In this Backmatter entry, they go deep on: future episode topics; their screenwriting lessons from 2021 (especially on control); pitching projects; the minimum viable product & minimum loveable thing; and share their exper iences with running a writers workshop/group.
    There are no Star Wars references in this episode, but there are plenty of Die Hard ones. Die Hard is the new Star Wars. Get over it.
    Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.
    RUNNING ORDER 00:00:00 - Intro: Backmatter 00:03:02 - Looking Forward - Episode Ideas 00:19:40 - Looking Back - Screenwriting Lessons 00:49:46 - Looking Now - Processes 01:28:26 - Outro EPISODE LINKS
    READ: Writer’s Workshop Documents by Chas & Stu READ: Laziness Does Not Exist by Dr Devon Price READ: Story Talismans by Scott Myers Many thanks to all our patrons, but especially Jennifer, Leigh, Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Theis and Khrob. They’re good humans who allow us to bring you more draft zero, more often.

    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. And you can find @draft_zero on Instagram and Twitter.

    • 1 hr 29 min
    DZ-85: Choices & Decision 2 - The Farewell & Wrath of Man

    DZ-85: Choices & Decision 2 - The Farewell & Wrath of Man

    What is difference between choice and decision when it comes to audience experience?
    In our second part of our “series” on Choices and Decisions, we take a deep dive into THE FAREWELL and WRATH OF MAN, with a sidebar on NOMADLAND.
    In THE FAREWELL, we consider how the choice/decision to lie underpins every sene of the film (to great effect).
    In NOMADLAND, we consider how using choice and decision is a great way to show how a character doesn’t change.
    And in WRATH OF MAN, we look at how non-linear narrative - and its decoupling of choice, decisions and consequence (wouldn’t that be a detripling???) impacts the audience experience, especially how we feel about characters.
    The terminology we settled on in Part 1 was:
    CHOICE: Are the options presented to the character. DECISION: Is the knowing consideration of the choice and resulting action. CONSEQUENCE: is the resulting outcome from the choice. As always: SPOILERS ABOUND
    Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

    Thanks to Chris for editing this episode.
    CHAPTERS
    00:00:00 - Intro 00:01:38 - Decisions & Choices Recap 00:03:41 - The Farewell 00:28:58 - Nomadland 00:37:39 - Wrath of Man 01:36:54 - Wrap Up & Key Learnings 01:45:06 - Backmatter LINKS
    Damon Young: https://www.damonyoung.com.au/ Stephen Cleary: https://www.stephencleary.org/ RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-34: Game of Choices - Decision Making and Character Implications DZ-48: One-Shot – Blade Runner 2049 – Agency vs Choice DZ-84: Choices & Decision 1 - Booksmart  
    This episode brought to you by ScriptUp – https://www.scriptupstudio.com – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off.
    Thanks to all our patrons, especially Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Theis, Sandra, 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. And you can find @draft_zero on Instagram and Twitter.
     

    • 1 hr 49 min
    DZ-84: Choices & Decisions 1 - Booksmart

    DZ-84: Choices & Decisions 1 - Booksmart

    What is the difference between choice and decision when it comes to characters?
    In order to better understand dramatising of character, Chas and Stu take a very draft zero look at very specific tool: choices and decisions. We analyse three films through the decisions made by their characters. In particular, how the audience understanding of: the choice available, the considered decision itself, and the consequence changes how we feel about these characters. And how separating those three things can create different emotional effects on your audience.
    We debate this in the episode, but this is the terminology we settle on:
    CHOICE: Are the options presented to the character. DECISION: Is the knowing consideration of the choice and resulting action. CONSEQUENCE: is the resulting outcome from the choice. Part 1 (this part) establishes what we mean by choice and decision, and then takes a deep dive into BOOKSMART, directed by Olivia Wilde, and written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Susanna Fogel.  We all discuss FLEABAG, SEVEN, and old favourite, Star Wars.
    Part 2 will turn our analytical eye on THE FAREWELL and WRATH OF MAN.
    As always: SPOILERS ABOUND
    Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.
    Thanks to Chris for editing this episodes.
    CHAPTERS
    00:00:00 - Introduction 00:01:36 - Choices vs Decisions 00:19:51 - Booksmart 01:01:41 - Decisions & Structure 01:05:50 - Mills' decision in Se7en 01:07:50 - Key Learnings and Wrap Up LINKS
    Damon Young: https://www.damonyoung.com.au/ Stephen Cleary: https://www.stephencleary.org/ RELATED EPISODES
    DZ-34: Game of Choices - Decision Making and Character Implications DZ-48: One-Shot – Blade Runner 2049 – Agency vs Choice This episode brought to you by ScriptUp – https://www.scriptupstudio.com – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off.
    Thanks to all our patrons, especially Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Theis, Sandra, 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. And you can find @draft_zero on Instagram and Twitter.

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 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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