– Action is any kind of activity, movement, interaction of characters with their surroundings
– Talking about feelings is not as powerful as illustrating why you feel this way through your action

– Actions are simply the manifestation of behavior
– Human emotions are understood by watching the actions and reactions of the characters

– Has the potential to enrich the expressions of the audience by building a emotional relationship between the characters and the audience




Storytelling techniques


Screenplay- many writers involved in the film.

Elements if a Dialogue
Dialogue reveals a character
– A character talks about himself or herself
– Other people talk about the character
Dialogues establishes relationships between characters
– Character express attitudes and opinions that are in opposition to one another
Dialogues that are good and effective moves the story forward
Dialogues communicates faces ad information to the audiences
– It conveys essential exposition
– Characters will talk about what happened, establishing the story line
Dialogue ties the script together

Common mistakes in dialogues
Dialogues should be used sparingly, never telling the audience what they can see for itself
– Dialogues is no substitute for an action
– Dialogues should not match conventional spoken dialogue. “Real talking”

Points to remember
Film is a visual medium
A script is a story told in pictures
Don’t make the dialogues real or fake, but realistic. Keep the dialogue focused.

A story starts with character
The character is the heart, the soul, and nervous system of your story.
It is through the characters that the viewers experience emotions
Without character, there is no action
Without action, you have no conflict
Without conflict, you have no story
Without story, you have no screenplay

When you are developing a character, ask yourself:
– Who is my character?
– What does he want?
– What is her quest?
– What drives him to the resolution of the story?


Writing For An Audience
Screenwriter= storyteller
– The current cinematic experience is not just made up of words you might put on paper but the audience’s emotional reaction to that information.

Who Brings The Story To The Audience?
⇒ Director to people
⇒ Writer to people
⇒ Camera to people
Actually, it’s NONE!!
It is people who bring the story to people

What is A Writer’s Purpose?
– To connect (emotions, able to visualize)
~ Themselves (own past, history, life)
~ Their unique vision
~ The material
~ The drama
~ Others
Why? Because audiences want to be transported by a screenplay. They want to be able to CONNECT and RELATE with the filmmakers.

Where Do You Look For A Story?
Inside yourself!
Everything to learn about other people is already in you. Even if the audiences cannot relate to the plot, they must be able to relate to the idea.

Storytelling Tool #2 – EXPERIENCE
– All people have fragments of stories
– These potential ideas prompt your desire to know more
– Respond emotionally and intellectually to what you have heard
– Your stories are born in the heart, not in the head
– Remember the role of the audience. After all, you ARE the audience!

Storytelling Tool #3 – MEMORY
– Your memory is a wonderful cabinet of past incidents that you have experienced or have been told.
– These memories are points of reference to your past experiences.
Memories are filtered by perspective. It sips into our head. You grow as a person.

Write what know, write what you dint know.

Film Les Miston
Written and directed by Francois Truffaut


Definition of Greek Tragedy:
– It is an imitation of an action (mimesis) that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude; in language established with each kind of artistic ornament; in form of action with narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its kartharsis of such emotions.

The 6 factors of a story:
1. Plot- arrangements of incidents, the way it is presented to the audiences in the film, not the story itself.
2. Character- second place in importance. The characters support the plot.
3. Thought- where something is proved to be or not to be. Or a general maxin is enunciated. When there is character growth.
4. Diction- expression of words which are proper and appropriate to the plot, character and the end of the tragedy.
5. Sound/melody- musical elements of the chorus.
6. Spectacle- special effects. Production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet. Least important.

The “Cause & Effect” chain:
4 types of causes: a. material cause (what something is made of)
b. Motive/ efficient cause
c. Formal cause
d. Final cause (realise formal cause)
Definition of cause: a chain effect where whatever happens in scene A leads to scene B.

How can a good plot create “Unity of Action”
⇒ No action/scene is to be a digression; nothing is left inside temporarily in speech and writing. Every word and action must contribute.

A Film’s Beginning, Middle and End
The beginning
– Start and cause the effect chain
The middle
– Climax
– Caused by earlier incidents
The end
– Resolution
– Caused by preceding events that cant lead to other incidents
– The end should resolve problems caused during incintive moments
The Episodic Plot
– The only thing tying together events in such a plot is the fact that they happen to that same person

Characters in a Tragedy
– must be rich and famous
– they support the plot
– personal motivation are connected to the cause-and-effect chain.
– not necessary bad, but are flawed in some particular way

The 3 Act Structure
1st act: set up (goal oriented character)
2nd act: confrontation (character must make a choice and action intensifies)
3rd act: resolution (level of effort raised to now height. Character can either achieve or not achieve his goal)

Important Vocab
1. katharis- purification of a motion
2. mimesis- look like real life, mimic
3. anagnorisis- ignorance to knowledge
4. perepeteia- turn/twist tragedy
5. hamartia- flaw

* The purpose of a theater in the past is for religious reasons. Now, things shown in theaters still portray certain set of believes, values and principles.



The 1st man who wrote stories: Aristotle (he constructed a memo)

– Observe in a conscious way
– Develop the ability to see and record movements, physical characteristics and settings

Mindless looking vs. True observations
– Watching lousy movie
– Bathing/ in the toilet
– In the train or bus
– Consists of familiar actions, day to day behaviour
– Things which are distinct
– When there is emotional attraction

Therefore, my conclusion is, when we do mindless looking, we are just allowing information of our surrounding go through our eyes and come out from our brains. We do not absorb what we see. But, true observations is when we look at something and analyse it, we make that what we see enters our brains and stay there. We try to remember it. ☺


Class Notes (27/4/07)


All story needs:
1. Plot
2. Smooth continuation
3. Climax
4. Organization
5. Characters
6. Moral
7. Conflicts

-Man against man
-Man against environment
-Man against self
→Variations of sex, age, religion and culture which provide variety to the conflict.

POSITIVE EFFECTS of CONFLICTS: change (how a character undergoes change)
– Change is common to all
– Its universal
– Bodies change
– Seasons change
– Lives change (Spiderman)
– Relationship change
– Feelings change
– Locations change
– Technology change

WHY we resist change:
1.as universal as change may be, we resist change for the fear of the unknown.
2.People must learn to cope with changes if they want to survive. 3.Action in drama depends on conflicts.

– (Definition) opposition of persons or forces
– Interaction of opposing ideas, interests, or wills and it creates the plot.
– Plot cannot be constructed without conflict
– As your characters attempts to reach their goals, they come into conflict with each other.
– Conflicts must be able to match with each other, not for eg 1:1000 both character must want something
– The end of e story nears when the protagonist and the antagonist approach their goals and the conflict rises to generate maximum suspense and excitement.

Posted by
Pamela Soh

20/4 class notes

Notes for the 1st story telling class!

Storytelling techniques
~ Writing formats:
Assignments in this class will use
(i) present tense
(ii) 3rd person narration
(iii) visual voice
This is to present immediate and urgent feel to the material
e.g. “Mark picks up the gun and holds it in his hand. It begins to tremble, as if alive.”

~ Script to a story: a blueprint of what needs to be on screen.

~ Written voice vs visual voice
⇒ weak verbs
⇒ tell what is happening in character’s head
⇒ distances the character from the story
⇒ uses strong action verbs
⇒ shows the action
⇒ uses an intermediate sentence structure
⇒ conveys story in a lively manner
–written voice: the sky was blue with a lot of white clouds. (missing an ACTION, ACTIVITY)
–visual: the clouds parts and an appeasing beam of light lands on…

~Tips for writing
a) if you have a work in progress, never stop for the night if you’re stuck.
b) always solve the problem and keep going until you are in safer water. A good night’s sleep is important but sleeping on a problem is a MYTH.
c) if you cant et started on a project, start writing anyway. To do this, you have to have some words to type.
d) it doesn’t matter what you write. You’ll soon begin to think and move in your rhythm/pace.