Dec. 9th, 2016

mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses 11.49: Elemental Ensemble, with Michael Damian Thomas

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/12/04/11-49-elemental-ensemble-with-michael-damien-thomas/

Key points: Ensembles are more than just heist stories. Ensemble stories have a team of specialists, each with a different role and part to play, who get together to accomplish some important goal working together. Get people together, let them bounce off each other, and together solve a problem. Why do we like them? We get to see lots of different people, see them interact, and make friends with them. Multiple character arcs intersecting in unique ways. A team of interdependent specialists, hyper competent in individual ways, but holes as a team. How do you make one? Start with a cast of characters, but give each one similar emotional weight. Make sure your characters are specialized enough. They don't all need a POV, plot arcs can happen offstage. One of the keys is introducing the members of your ensemble quickly, usually in action. Make the scene do multiple things. Don't infodump! Think about your competency porn scenes, where you show us how good the characters are at what they do, usually while doing something else at the same time.

It takes a village to... )

[Brandon] Well, we have to stop here. We've gone like 25 minutes almost…
[Whoops! Laughter]
[Brandon] Yes, but you can tell we love this topic. We will be back to talk about it again in a few weeks. I'm going to give you some homework, though. When we were talking earlier, one of the things we realized is we love ensemble stories that aren't always just the obvious heists. But we do love the heists, obviously, as well. We want you to go look at some different professions, particularly ones that have some sort of front person leading the charge, and, like a chef, maybe on a show like that. We want you to identify all the rules that happen behind the scenes to make that person succeed. We want you to try to design a story that doesn't use the front person at all, and uses all of these different roles supporting them behind the scenes. Do that for a couple different jobs. See what you come up with. We want to give a special thank you to Michael Damian Thomas.
[Michael] Thank you for having me.
[Brandon] We want to thank the Writing Excuses cruise members.
[Yay! Applause]
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.

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