Distinguishing Features of Film/TV/Play Plots

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik2 Comments

@wmdogar asks:

An excellent question. Film, TV and plays are all forms of drama. The top characteristics of plot are identical to all three. (BTW, I teach how to break story for film/tv/plays/novels so as to maintain suspense and plot in all scenes.)

However, there are some differences between the three, for purely practical reasons:

  • Unlike plays and most films, TV scripts can follow a single story over multiple episodes, e.g. GAME OF THRONES, PERSON OF INTEREST, etc.
  • Plays have to be limited in the number of locations due to the number of sets that can be reasonably included in a given show. (Shakespeare had it easier on this score because in his time there were no sets!)
  • Unlike plays, movies generally need to get outdoors at least some of the screentime. The amazing current film, BIRDMAN, which is made to appear to be shot as one continuous take, goes to great efforts to get outside for various sequences. This article describes how they shot Michael Keaton walking through Times Square in his skivvies.)

Ask me follow-up questions here or on Twitter!

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