Scene Construction 2 > Power Dynamics and Beats

In our sexiest episode yet, Cheryl and James break down the popular train scene from the James Bond film Casino Royale between Bond (Daniel Craig) and Vesper (Eva Green). Topics include scene construction, power dynamics, scene beats, character tactics, dialogue, sexual tension,and Cheryl’s unabashed weakness for quality banter and Daniel Craig’s perfectly formed…nevermind.


The Casino Royale scene in question.

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In The Narrative Breakdown, Cheryl Klein, James Monohan, and other guest co-hosts discuss storytelling tips and techniques of interest to any writer, student, or fan of quality creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, fan fiction, English literature, etc. Each episode, Cheryl and James draw upon their respective experiences in publishing and filmmaking to analyze popular novels, movies, plays, television shows, short stories, and song lyrics. Featuring various co-hosts and writers, as well as material from Cheryl Klein’s book ‘Second Sight’ and James’ iPhone / iPad app ‘The Storyometer.’


5 Responses to “Scene Construction 2 > Power Dynamics and Beats”

  1. Brendan O'Meara September 21, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Great podcast, goes right to heart of what we’d call in prose “word economy.” The scene is muscular, lean. How else can a four-minute scene elicit a 25-minute podcast?

    It also strikes home the need to respect the reader/viewer’s time and also arcs within scenes that feed into the arc of the entire narrative.

    Again, wonderful podcast on “scene mechanics”. I’ll be tuning in for more!

    • admin September 25, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Glad you liked the episode, Brendan. We weren’t sure if listeners would be into focusing on just one example with such intensity like that. But it seems people liked it. Maybe we’ll do more of these.

  2. Sam September 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Hey, I really enjoyed this episode as well as the last one on scene construction. As an student of acting it was nice to hear someone talk about beats that made sense. This reminds me how a writer can really strengthen his/her story by getting down to this detail. Working on beats and getting specific with each characters tactics within each. Purpose, Motivation, Methodology (tactics), and Evaluating as the character goes (am I getting what I want with this choice?)
    Look forward to the next episode.

    • admin September 25, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      Purpose, Motivation, Methodology (tactics), and Evaluating — Nice. Those pretty much sum up a character’s behavior in a scene. We should mention those on the podcast. By the way, Sam, it’s great to get some feedback from an actor. Let us know if there ar other terms/techniques from acting that you think might be relevant to writers. And thanks for listening!

  3. Carole Gaudet October 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Great podcast, James & Cheryl. I never really knew what a “beat” was until now. Also love the instruction that even as the first line of a scene should be great, the last line should be even better — the “fermata”.

    Love the James Bond scene and your close attention to it. Yes, please do more of these scene-under-a-microscope podcasts.

    Here’s another, similar scene (dinner banter with lots of innuendo), from “Intolerable Cruelty” with George Cloony & Catharine Zeta-Jones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkQ_uPNWp28

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