The Handicapped Handicapper
11-14-2003, 08:59 PM
Which is better and why?

11-15-2003, 01:49 AM
Dramatica bites. Its level of complication is little more than a ruse to make you think the software actually contains a valuable "story paradigm". It's really just a bunch of BS. (I've tried the demo, spent time with the manual.)

Can't comment on Blockbuster; no demo available. Best bet? Don't buy.

11-16-2003, 02:30 AM
He's right. Drammatica is a convoluted piece of crap that no one seems to understand. They just made the crap look real slick so you'd buy it. You don't need something like this to help you write a good story. Go buy one of Linda Seger's books for about $200 less and you'll be in much better shape.

11-16-2003, 01:10 PM
which uses the dramatica theory. so far, i'm not too impreesed... at all...

11-16-2003, 05:38 PM
That sucks. Didn't you try the demo first?

Funny thing is that the company that makes Crap-atica also makes Movie Magic, which rocks.

11-19-2003, 08:19 AM
Dramatica does work, but it has an inherent flaw: it's convoluted design means that in the time it will take you to understand, develop and rework a single idea, you could have done about 10 story outlines manually, using reference texts.

And since it takes a significant period of time to actually write a 110 page SP, Dramatica simply doesn't pay off in the time investment area.

03-22-2004, 01:17 AM
Username ...

Can't comment on Blockbuster; no demo available.

There appears to be BB demos at truby.com now.

03-24-2004, 07:25 PM
I kinda like "Dramatica". I won't kid anyone -- the learning curve is immense, but once you grok the basics it's an intriguing approach. And that's all it is -- an approach ... a slightly different way to look at the same elements we deal with daily on the board here.

The manual is dense and tedious. (btw, you don't need the software to use the theory as outlined in the manual). There are, however, some nifty resources at www.dramatica.com (http://www.dramatica.com), www.storymind.com (http://www.storymind.com) and elsewhere.

I've been reading a very nice tutorial by Armando SaldaƱa Mora called: "Dramatica for Screenwriters" (http://www.dramatica.com/theory/armando/dfsintro.html) that gets you up and running with fruitful results very rapidly. (Particularly crafty is the chapter on encoding your premise in just a few minutes). Unlike the dissertation style of the official manual, his stuff is very nicely written.

I'm not gonna cheerlead for it, mind you. If you don't like it, don't see the value, don't care -- then don't use it. But the people claiming it's bogus and without merit are engaging in hyperbole; it's doubtful they understand it and they almost certainly got impatient. And I'm not blaming them. It's a frustrating endeavor that takes weeks (if not months).

On the other hand, once you have it down, it's mere repitition after that.

03-25-2004, 06:07 PM

I downloaded this once to see what all the fuss was about and couldn't work it out. This is from the help file:

"Main Character Gender Examples: Luke Skywalker's gender in Star Wars is male. Clarice Starling's gender in The Silence of the Lambs is female."

Their emphasis, not mine.

Look at it this way, if you want to take a schematic approach it's 25 times more expensive than "How To Write A Movie in 21 Days", which is one hundred times more convincing.

btw above gender examples apply to the "Pro" version, don't know if this feautre is in plain old Dramatica. :lol

Jeff Schechter
03-25-2004, 06:32 PM

I'm not a big fan of either program, and that was even BEFORE I developed my own approach.

Many people on the board here know me...some have even taken my TotallyWrite 3-Hour Screenwriting Crash Course. I've just made available for download an ebook called The TotallyWrite Guide to Bulletproof Structure. This is the written version of everything I teach in the Screenwriting Crash Course -- it's everything I do when I write and I write and sell my stuff all the time.

You can learn more about it at my website. It's a bargain (only $14.95 USD) and I promise you that it's easier and more useful than a bucket of Blockbusters and/or Dramaticas.


03-25-2004, 07:15 PM
"Main Character Gender Examples: Luke Skywalker's gender in Star Wars is male. Clarice Starling's gender in The Silence of the Lambs is female."

I can only guess, because you didn't supply the context -- but Dramatica differentiates problem-solving styles into LOGICAL and INTUITIVE. Although they have changed the terminology, they once refered to "Problem Solving" styles as the "Mental Sex" of the character; Male = Logical, Female = Intuitive. This doesn't mean all men solve problems with logic and all women use intuition. You could be a man whose mental sex is female (ie: intuitive), like Luke Skywalker trusting in the Force. Or you could be a female whose mental sex is male (ie: logical), like Clarice Starling methodically tracking down Buffalo Bill. Thus, by pointing out the actual gender (in your example), they were probably contrasting it against their "Mental Sex" approach to problem solving.

Again, I'm not interested in defending them and I'll be the first to admit those initially chose some clumsy terminology. I just wanted to point out that I don't think your example was a fair one.

03-25-2004, 07:27 PM
I'm not a big fan of either program ...

I gotta admit, Jeff, when I saw you speaking about "Traveling Angels" in another thread, I had a Truby flashback (he loves that mode). Of course, I know he didn't invent it -- just as I know that theories on Comedy sound suspiciously like re-worded Walter Kerr (from his brilliant book "Comedy & Tragedy"). Still, I'm guessing that you're familiar enough with his approach to speak with authority.

I am actually interested in your stuff -- particularly the StoryView template (which I thought was a clever way present your ideas). Bill Martell oughta do up some of his "Action" paradigms that way.

I'm not particularly keen on using plastic online -- or going through PayPal, so I hope you'll post some explicit instructions for those of us who might wanna use something like a money order. You're in Canada, right? Are those even good there? What about shipping and handling fees? Or would you merely supply a URL to grab the data?

We touched on this in email, but you really need to spell it out on your website.

Jeff Schechter
03-25-2004, 08:02 PM
If you're interested in the money-order system, it can be snail mailed. I'll try to post more explicit instructions on the site when time permits.

Thanks for the interest.

03-25-2004, 08:09 PM
I just wanted to point out that I don't think your example was a fair one.
It's not a fair criticism of the software, no, it wasn't meant to be! I couldn't even begin to criticise it. Even with the Boyz in the Hood template loaded I couldn't make head or tail of it. That said, if they were contrasting actual gender, with mental gender (WTF?), I think I would have noticed. Anyway, I'm just making fun of something I don't understand :D Thus, here's the 'context' in full. :lol

USAGE: Character Name Examples:
Luke Skywalker in Star Wars; Frank Galvin in The Verdict; Michael Corleone in The Godfather; Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie; Jake Gittes in Chinatown; Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.

Character Gender Examples: Luke Skywalker's gender in Star Wars is male. Clarice Starling's gender in The Silence of the Lambs is female.

Character Role Examples: Star Wars: (Luke): Wannabe Jedi; Chinatown: (Jake Gittes): Private Investigator; The Fugitive: (Dr. Richard Kimble): Fugitive Doctor.

03-26-2004, 02:07 PM
Hey Jeff, does your new ebook give any information not found on the CD seminar?

And what about that stuff on character you hinted at last year? Give me reasons to shower you with ducats!

03-26-2004, 02:24 PM
Jeff, what's special about your software? It looks like a bunch of empty text boxes, judging by the screenshots.

Jeff Schechter
03-27-2004, 07:42 PM
WinterMuse --

The book has all the information from the seminar in traditional book form. If you've got the seminar and are happy with how the info is presented, then I wouldn't spend the ducats.

UserName --

My program is a bunch of empty text boxes. The nifty thing about it is what I tell you to put in them! ;)