David Mamet’s Masterclass lesson #4 Dramatic Rules
I watched this video, three times before I started taking notes.
Why so many times?
Answer: Because it was that good!
This lesson is –WOW! And I am not exaggerating. I am only on the fourth video and I have taken away something from each of those four videos. In Lesson #3 Mamet talked about how humans have two inclinations, ‘good inclination’—yetzer ha-tov—the ‘evil inclination’—yetzer ha-ra. I have been reading about these inclinations. To me, they are like a tiny Devil on one shoulder and a tiny Angel on the other.
This video lesson #4 David Mamet is sitting at his desk looking at the camera, and his first words are:
“Your job is to tell a story. A story a story has a hero, and he or she wants ‘one’ thing and the story begins when something precipitates the event.”
From this point, some -not all- of what he is saying I have heard or read before. But never in the way that David Mamet delivers it.
He points us to read, Aristotle Poetics, you can find it HERE.
David Mamet’s delivery, the way he imparts the information, is impressive. This video only lasted eleven minutes and forty-six seconds. I wanted more. I wanted to jump right into the next video lesson. I had to pull myself back. I had this Blog post to put together and I wanted to read Aristotle’s Poetics, first before jumping feet first into lesson #5
A little of what I learned, was that the audience /reader is the hero of the story.
The Hero’s Journey
“Every play has to have a beginning middle an end – Just like a joke.” ~David Mamet
Inspired by situations
Your hero needs to be inspired from the inside out.
From Dr. Wheeler’s Web.cn.edu. “UNITIES, THREE (also known as the “three dramatic unities. A good play, according to this doctrine, must have three traits.
The first is unity of action (realistic events following a single plotline and a limited number of characters encompassed by a sense of verisimilitude).
The second is unity of time, meaning that the events should be limited to the two or three hours it takes to view the play, or at most to a single day of twelve or twenty-four hours compressed into those two or three hours.
The third is unity of space, meaning the play must take place in a single setting or location.
*It is notable that Shakespeare often broke the three unities in his plays, which may explain why these rules later were never as dominant in England as they were in French and Italian Neoclassical drama.” ~web.cn.edu
Keep the story simple.
You decide where will your story start, and where will it end.
Simple maybe or not, but it is a start.