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T356 Dramatic Scene Exercise


In lab you and your group will produce a professional-looking dramatic scene that lasts anywhere from 3.5 to 6 minutes. This exercise is meant to test your visualization, blocking, production management, delegation and directorial abilities. It will also give you a chance to add a high quality dramatic production to your portfolio. This exercise is worth a total of 45 points and has both individual and group components.

Individually you will each submit:

  • proposal
  • pitch (your presentation to your fellow students)
  • either a treatment or a script

This part of the exercise is worth 10 points.

As a group you will create a Pre--Production packet, which will include:

  • proposal
  • treatment
  • script
  • storyboards
  • floor plan
  • lighting plot

This part of the exercise is also worth 10 points.

You will need to select talent (not members from your group), block the scene, rehearse and prepare sound effects, graphics, and music. Please make sure you rehearse the scene a few times in the weeks before the production is scheduled. Unrehearsed projects are always terrible and tend to waste everyone's time.


As a group you will produce the project. It is expected that members of your group will carry out the key roles (producer, director, etc.) The production component is worth 20 points.


You will turn in a one page (minimum) critique the week after you produce your project. This part of the exercise is worth 5 points. Brownie points will be given for students who submit a Youtube/Vimeo ready DVD of the final production.


Time: 3.5-6 minutes

Graphics: You need at least two graphics (E.g. a title and closing credits). Please take time to consider your visual design treatment and design the graphics accordingly.

Music/SFX: Your group must use at least one cut of music and one sound effect. You might start and close your piece with some music. A background bed of sound effects can help establish your location.

Talent: Members of your group can not function as talent for your own production. Talent should be drawn from other groups or outside sources. You should also be willing to serve as "talent" for another group.

Suggestions: Select a scene that works by iteself and is feasible to produce in the studio. Good scenes have a beginning, middle and end. The scene may be from a TV show, a movie or of your own creation. A good on-line source of scripts is www.script-o-rama.com. Feel free to rewrite scenes to make them more suitable for your tastes and resources. So if a scene has 7 people, you could rewrite it so that you only need 4. Avoid comedy- keep it dramatic, and keep in mind that minimalist sets can artfully represent complex environments. The most important aspects aren't set & costumes, but talent, blocking & lighting.


Week 1:

During lab, everyone will pitch their dramatic scenes. So be sure to bring the following to lab:

  • Pitch/Proposal (Describe the scene, scenario and action)
  • Script (detailed, two-column script or film style with clear storyboards)

We'll vote on ideas and assign production teams and times.

If your scene is selected, you will act as the "producer" and secure on-camera talent for your production and delegate responsibilities. You should designate responsibility. Consider who in your group can be in charge of securing props, creating graphics, carrying out sound design, etc. Make sure your talent gets a copy of the script ASAP so they can learn the story and their lines.

Week 2:
  • Refine script
  • Block and storyboard key shots (Do they work with your floor plan? If not, revise your floor plan.)
  • Have a Dry Run / Blocking rehearsal (refine blocking, delivery, make sure you can get close-ups of key dramatic moments).
  • Rehearse some more.
  • Build soundtrack, decide on microphone strategy
  • Create graphics ahead of time
  • Create camera shot sheets

On the day of your production, it is vital that you come to lab prepared!



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