Start Your FREE Trial Plus Membership To View This Video
Why Become a Plus Member?
As a Plus Member, you'll enjoy:
- Exclusive access to 1,000s of articles, tips, and videos
- Unlimited access to Videomaker Tips & Tricks video series
- Special contests and monthly drawings
- Members only eLetters
- Early online access to the current issue of Videomaker Magazine
- Members only discounts on Videomaker merchandise and more
- Priority status at Videomaker events
- The Expert Hotline: direct email access to our editors. Get answers to questions about any video subject
All for just $24.99 a year!
[Movie clip playing]
Nothing plays on an audience’s emotions more than a good, old-fashioned, character-driven drama. Now this time we’re gonna show you how to create your very own drama by describing the genre, then jumping into the style of emotional and visual design, explain how it needs to be shot, and lastly we will look at how to draw out scenes and make them feel more dramatic.
A drama is a film that moves a story forward by focusing on the development of realistic characters dealing with emotions. The themes are usually based in realism and cover real-life issues such as death, crime, conflict, and movements affecting society.
Historically drama has been a part of film since the early days of the silent film. However, drama didn’t take off on its own until the hidden, socially charted messages of the 1930s and the film noir style of the 1940s.
When it comes to creating dramas, there are many different ways to tell your story to the audience. Now some of the more common ones include epic or historical dramas, which is a drama that builds its story around historical events or periods, some of which attempt to tell the story as accurately as possible based on the real history of the actual event itself or time period, while others are highly fictionalized and only aim to present a highly dramatized story.
The crime drama, on the other hand, is usually based in reality but doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to any historical event. They primarily focus on the element of suspense and contain a lot of action, and tend to push the characters and their development as the main focus. Elements of the film noir look and feel show up sometimes to add more of a dark emotional overtone.
The bio pic is a biographical film which dramatizes the life of an actual person. They are different from films that claim to be based on a true story or historical films in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a person’s life story or at least take a look at the most historically significant years of their life.
For the most part, dramas play out by developing the characters’ personalities in front of the camera through dialogue and emotion. Now there are a couple things that you can do that draw out more emotion from your audience. One of them is how you light the subject. A good lighting style to keep in mind is known as silhouette lighting. This is where you use a backlight to conceal your subject within the shadows. Feel free to play around a bit with this way of lighting to get the most important elements you want visible, and be sure to hide the rest because it makes things look more dramatic.
The main idea you’re going after when you shoot a drama is adding emotion to the characters’ ongoing development during the film. Shooting a drama should contain shots that add to the feelings and moods the character displays. For example, if your character is a highly wealthy and powerful figure, it is best to use low angle shots when shooting them because the angles give off the feeling of dominance. Since the character is powerful and the angles make you feel as if the subject is talking down to you as a viewer, together this draws the audience into feeling the same emotion. On the flip side, high angle shots make the opposite true, so they should be used for characters who are weak. This again reverses the emotion of the audience because it visually puts them into a weak position.
Now the last thing to think about here are close-ups. These are the key to adding more detail to your scenes and can help draw out time later in the editing process. The closer the shot, the more emotional it becomes, and the key is to tell the story of the character with these shots. This means that if your character is feeling depressed or feeling confusion, it’s a good idea to capture the physical reactions of that emotion. Throwing their arms up in frustration, wiping away tears and so on should all be captured up close and tight to help expose the audience to those same emotions.
One of the last tricks that add emotion to your story is how the piece is cut together. In particular, a good thing to think about is drawing out time. If we shot things in real time, they wouldn’t feel nearly as dramatic. Real-life decisions happen quick and their end result is what actually develops over a long span of time. However, in a drama the main idea is to make the viewer feel those ideas by drawing out the real-life experience over a prolonged amount of time. This makes the audience contemplate what it would feel like to be in the same situation and brings more suspense to the scenario by giving an emotional, tense situation more time to play out.
[Movie clip playing]
In terms of transitions, cross-fades can be used in times to play on emotions as well. They work because cross-fades make things softer and allows the audience to keep that same emotion while they’re watching the film. Now let’s take a look at all the elements we’ve talked about and see how our own story plays out.
[Movie clip playing]
People relate to dramas because they tend to feel those same emotions. And now it’s up to you to connect those elements together in your video.
[End of Audio]