Monday, May 12, 2008

Deconstructing Dexter

Developing my Dexter spec has been much tougher than I anticipated. I've deconstructed 3 episodes and they each seem to have their own independent structures. There is no magic number of plots, scenes and no obvious act breaks. I purchased a copy of "Crocodile", a script from the first season, and that didn't help much as it's written without act breaks. When I do pick a certain number of acts, the length of each varies so widely between episodes that it brings my theories into question.


Josh talks here about writing the spec with a major twist every 10 pages, but also about the Dexter writers trying very hard to not have a structure. This seems contradictory. Why bother putting a structure to a show that doesn't have one? Perhaps the best technique is to abandon structure (well, you still need a beginning, middle and end of each story), and have the acts vary as widely as they need to. Because if you're trying to capture the feeling of a show, following too rigid a structure may make the Dexter spec feel like something else. I think that instead of concentrating on acts, I should just concentrate on plot, and see what organically happens.

2 comments:

Screenwriter Shep said...

Slightly unrelated note--

The director who hired me to write a feature for him was a consultant on the first season of Dexter. He's the one who got me to watch the show in the first place. Good show.

Good luck with it!

Trevor said...

oh yeah? maybe he can throw me a bone (or a bible) :P