Most people agree that the most important aspect of a film is the story. If the story doesn't work, the film doesn't work. So for the past 15 months I've been studying the construction of story.
Before I go any farther… I'd just like to emphasize that dramatic stories are not the only legitimate type of film. For example, some films provide an experience that is primarily aesthetic… If there are characters at all, they're often anonymous, enigmatic, silent; there may be no discernible conflict or climax; but at the end of the film you wind up feeling like you glimpsed something beautiful, nonetheless. Traditional stories with understandable characters, dramatic conflicts, beginnings, middles, and ends, tend to be most popular -- and not without cause… But even though I neglect to discuss other species of filmic experience here, please don't think I'm putting them down!
Back to topic… My research on story has encompassed three art forms: film, literature, and theater. Research tends to start broad; then, as you clarify exactly what it is that you want to know, your scope narrows. So it has been for me…..
[the sections of Sven's essay are:]
1. LONG-FORM VS. SHORT-FORM
2. WHAT'S MOST USEFUL TO STOPMOES: FILM, LITERATURE, OR PLAYS?
3. 10-MINUTE PLAYS: SCALE
4. 10-MINUTE PLAYS: AESTHETIC
5. WRITING FOR 10-MINUTE PLAYS
Read the entire essay at the Scarlet Letters.