David Mamet’s Second Video ‘Purpose Of Drama’ Masterclass
David Mamet is sitting in front of the camera in a rustic room; its walls are paneled in wood, a lamp is on the table set behind and off to his right it’s casting a relaxing orange glow. Over his left shoulder are papers and sticky notes connected to the far wall, while directly next to his left arm, sits an old typewriter and a stack of closed books or journals. A vintage 1900’s metal desk lamp reaches up on a double-jointed arm, which is locked in a straight up positioned, and tilted ever so slightly back so its parabolic unfinished aluminum shade can illuminate the desktop when he chooses to turn it on.
David Mamet starts talking:
“The Purpose of drama that is a really, really good question. That’s a really good question. There is an old, – I am Jewish, my people have only been Jewish five-six thousand years, so we’re kinda getting used to it.
So, There’s an old joke about this international flight and this terrorist breaks in with a submachine gun. And he says, “Okay, who’s a Jew?”
And a little old guy in the back says, “That a really interesting question.”
So, that’s how I kind of feel about drama; I think the purpose of drama is to define the clan.” ~ Video #2 David Mamet
He goes on to describe drama what it is, and what it is not.
It is not: meant to teach you.
It is: meant to entertain you.
And everyone uses drama to over embellish his or her daily lives.
When my husband asks the time. I round the hour up so he thinks it later than it is. Subtle drama? Or…
“What time is it?
“No, it seems earlier.”
If it was earlier I would have taken out the garbage.”
“What’s stopping you now?’
“I promised my friend I would be on Xbox.”
“Well, lucky for you I saw it wrong, you have an extra thirty minutes.”
“Sorry, no can do. I already logged on, can you take it out for me?”
“You were already logged in!”
“Yeah! But I thought it was later than it was”
My example: Taking a vacation and having to sit through a sales pitch when all I wanted was to relax and be entertained won’t be a fun time. So stick to what you are selling. If it is a dramatic story you advertised, then don’t push a condo down your reader’s throats.
My thoughts: If your story has a harsh sales pitch, tone it way down. The idea will still be there, but it will be felt and talked about after the book is read or when the movie is over.
The drama is everything. Give it its space. Allow people to enjoy the story.
I will not tell you everything from his Masterclass videos. If I did you would miss out on a hearing him talk. If you would like to check out David Mamet’s Masterclass, click on the link in the top left sidebar. It’s sitting just above James Patterson’s Masterclass.
1st video: Teach me, David Mamet, You Are My Only Hope