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March 05, 2004

The One-Minute Script Editor

I heard a bit of news today on the grapevine which reminded me that in some ways people are just like characters in a drama. Someone very talented is leaving my former department because all she was doing was mopping up other people's shite when there was no creative work left to do. (PS If you read this and that's a wrong assessment, do please let me know!)

One of Robert McKee's principles of screenwriting is that characters are defined by their choices. Without choices there is no story. (Aside for outsiders: It helps if the choices illuminate the difference between inner and outer selves) (Aside for insiders: This is why interactive drama based on stuff that doesn't further explore the characters - i.e. voting on stuff that doesn't matter, deus ex machina things, won't actually be a fulfilling editorial experience)

Similarly, in the workplace people are defined by the things they are allowed to decide. Give them an appropriate amount of that, by increasing jurisdiction in the areas you want them to move into, and things fall into place.

And as for fulfilment, again Bob's got it sussed. The challenge of finding out you can make correct decisions, and deliver, in areas you didn't think you could, make you feel like you're growing and doing a good job.

[Or, as someone once said in a comissioning meeting that was spiralling far too much into the nitty-gritty: We have to give producers something they can produce.]

Posted by Tom Dolan at March 5, 2004 12:59 AM

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I started reading STORY again because of this blog entry. There's more to this book that just help for Piers.

Posted by: tim at March 17, 2004 07:04 PM

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