#97 & 98 From Mad Men to Borgen … and my poor back.

borgenWhy is Borgen so interesting? Even when you don’t speak Danish? Well, it’s very down to earth, that’s for one. The characters are possibly one of the most human set of characters on TV today. It’s more alive than even one of my favorite shows ( I can’t believe I’m writing this) “House of Cards”. It’s complex. All major characters are complex. Like we are… you and me. Take note.

The past three weeks we’ve been watching, analyzing and learning from great shows and their writers/producers. Countless beat sheets have been written. It’s an arduous but important process to sit and literally write down every bit of action, twist and turn in an hour show. It is a valid process.

I’ve learned that it was easier though more extensive to write beats up for Mad Men than Borgen. Why? Because it’s all show and little tell. Borgen is half and half. More suited for the highly dialogue driven European audience. Daily episodic, theater and radio have something to do with forming european audience. Take note. Audiences and their markets, or the other way around, are a major indicator of how you might want to write your show. The audience is currently changing in Europe, so that will most likely change the percentage of showing and telling in any given series.

Two more weeks to go and we start writing our own spec script for a show currently in development in the USA.

Analyzing helps your eye as a writer. As you fine tune your eye, your mind and hands fine tune their choices of words to create better images on paper. Better images inevitably lead to better scripts.

I’d definitely encourage you to watch the first seasons of your favorite shows and write down every single beat you see up on-screen. It takes a bit of time and you don’t watch it for entertainment but it is a very viable tool to understanding how character actions lead to great story constructions and vice-versa.

The only disadvantage is that the amount of time you spend sitting may hurt your back. Ideas: Pilates, yoga, stretches, breaks and of course my favorite – running!


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