The Screenplay: Day Thirteen

What is big drama?

Aliens take over the planet.  A zombie apocalypse breaks out.  An asteroid threatens to smash the earth.  These movies usually have scenes with presidents and generals talking about top-secret stuff.   These movies have explosions, sweeping city-scapes, and spaceships.

I don't write much big drama.   I have never spoken with presidents or generals, and the only explosions I've seen are Fourth of July fireworks.  Writers are supposed to write what they know, so I generally avoid these sweeping thriller/action-adventure stories.  I don't really like to read them, either.  I'm not saying such stories are bad, they're just not my cup of tea.

Drama can be small: an alien lands in a small town and tries to survive.  One family locks themselves in their home while the zombies beat against their door.   A farmer anxiously watches his crops wither while the asteroid hurtles nearer.

These are the same ideas involved in "big drama": aliens, zombies, asteroids, but they're told from small perspectives.  One lonely alien.  One desperate family.  One frightened farmer.

I think these "small drama" stories hit closer to home, because if such a crisis were to happen, most of us would not be consorting with world leaders or leading mass revolts-- we would be fighting to protect our little plot of grass.

In my screenplay, a powerful family falls.  But I want to tell their fall from the perspective of a frightened girl instead of the power-hungry kings and lords.  The whole crux of the screenplay is a scene where this girl, alone in an abandoned manor, sits down and sews a torn cushion.  It's a tiny, pointless deed.  But it's her first attempt to restore order to her fallen world.