Techniques of The Photoplay

April 18, 2013

in preparation for my Avanca Cinema presentation (hopefully) in July I’m reading Techniques of The Photoplay written by Frederick Palmer. This book was published in 1924.
In the Dramatic Construction chapter the following elements are listed:

Drama-Characterisation-Motive-Action-Conflict-Suspense-Contrast-Incident-Situation-Crisis-Sequence-Climax-Ending-Significance-Theme-Unity-Illusion of Reality-Probability- Coincidence and Preparation-Human Interest-Love Interest-Comedy in Drama-Heroic Values-Picture Values-Novelty

I’ve read a few scriptwriting books in my time, though tend not to make notes and therefore don’t really remember the points which of course is deliberate and I like and I was struck by how little has changed in 90 odd years. It made me think that McKee, Truby, Seger et al are all somewhat redundant.
I’m awaiting Epes Winthrop Sargent book on the same subject written in 1912.
Reading these books written in the silent movie era is really cool. The Palmer book makes a reference to its student readers remembering The Great Train Robbery of 1897!

I think this book is available free via the Gutenberg Project so check it out online if intrigued.

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