Patrick O'Driscoll

Dramatic Tension – Don’t Let Them Go (Part II)

Dramatic Tension – Don’t Let Them Go (Part II)

Keeping audiences hooked relies on meaningful dramatic questions, yet few stories generate tension on the most meaningful level. Nothing prevents an audience’s boredom like the need to know what happens at the ending. Provided the protagonist has our empathy or interest, the stakes are significant and the outcomes are genuinely uncertain, a story’s external and internal […]

 Patrick O'Driscoll

Dramatic Tension – Don’t Let Them Go (Part 1)

Dramatic Tension – Don’t Let Them Go (Part 1)

Clever concepts, genre staples, and rare characters can entice audiences, but without story-long dramatic tension, your screenplay will struggle to keep them engaged. Screenwriting has one rule: thou shalt not bore thy audience. Even Neanderthal storytellers knew that boring a cave full of people meant death (figuratively, we think). Writers strive for audience involvement with every tool […]

 Patrick O'Driscoll

Character Behavior – 3 Important Touchstones

Character Behavior – 3 Important Touchstones

Personality goes a long way, but if a protagonist’s behavior is not terribly well-thought-out, their winning persona won’t save them from audience disinterest. Suspension of disbelief is the most generous gift a reader or viewer can give your screenplay. It’s as vital as it is fragile. Spoil it and they’ll check out of your story or, worse, […]

 Patrick O'Driscoll

Thematic Conflict – The Intersection Of Dramatic Conflict And Theme

Thematic Conflict – The Intersection Of Dramatic Conflict And Theme

Like generating drama, exploring theme is a primary function of any story, but why is it so important? From Terrence Malick to Marvel, every cinematic story strives for audience involvement. For markets broad and niche, making people care is the name of the game. The most rudimentary method of captivating an audience is with dramatic conflict. […]