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Why Would You Want To Use Action In Your Drama?

Why Would You Want To Use Action In Your Drama?


Many directors think of action as something that is NOT a necessity for effectively telling their story. It’s not needed! “Why would I put a bunch of car chases, explosions, fights and shoot outs into my project?” is the thinking. Well understand that including action does not mean adding unnecessary explosions and car chases. On the contrary, it means simply telling your story in a visually powerful way that usually is far SUPERIOR to what can be accomplished with dialogue, camera angles, lighting and good acting alone.


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Let’s first establish the job of action. Action’s job is to advance your story line in a gripping and exciting way (more than dialogue can alone), evolve your characters, entertain your audience and GREATLY increase your production value. Action is the physical expression of dialogue.


Few things express and instill emotion in an audience faster, more effectively and permanently than action does. Remember the old lesson ‘Show…don’t tell’? For the most part, you don’t want the audience trying to read your mind and figuring out important developments in your story. Visually show them what’s happening. If your central character gets beaten up by bullies and this experience evolves / grows them, then you want to show that. Simply, having them walk into an alley, then inserting a bunch of fight sounds and finally they walk out of the alley bruised and battered is very weak and seems like a cheap & lazy way out to the audience.



Think about it. In many people’s favorite movies, action plays an important and memorable part. Think of the movie franchise ‘Batman’. We’ll reference the classic version starring Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton. If you remember in that movie, the fight sequence is what was used to transform Jack Nicholson’s character into the Joker.


Now if we remove the fight scene, how effective would it have been if Nicholson just had an argument with Batman, then stormed into the bathroom and while in the bathroom delivered serious dialogue to himself in the mirror and finally made the decision to become the Joker? It might still work yet it would be nowhere near as powerful or made the same degree of impact on the audience.


Think about this, in most people’s personal lives (including yours) the moments of their lives that impact them the most were usually a series of events that unfolded that caused those times in their lives to be so impactful. It wasn’t the conversation or dialogue, regardless of how gripping or dramatic it may been. It’s usually a series of ‘action sequences’ in their lives that occurred and caused that time in their lives to be so impactful and memorable. The same is most likely true with your life as well.


So when you have a project, drama or otherwise, that’s devoid of action, or you decide to the action out of it, you’re actually making it less realistic and less similar to REAL life because REAL life is full of action moments and action sequences. Not necessarily gun battles and explosions, yet things like:

∙ quickly driving in and out of traffic

∙ taking off quickly from a red light

∙ running to get to the bank or a store before it closes

∙ participating in a dance class

∙ cross fit training

∙ running after your kids

∙ running to the kitchen to take a pan off the stove before the food burns

∙ an actual fight with someone

∙ etc.

These things are just a few examples of the everyday action sequences in most people’s lives.


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So a life without ‘action sequences’ is pretty rare and also pretty dull. And a movie without action sequences of some type in it usually will not realize its full potential with audiences. So if you want to spice up your drama and take your production value to the next level…put some action in it!


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