''Just think about how you can create a story that will last for 10 minutes, rotating around 4 cast and centering on a particular theme''

Short drama are often presented in an event where every item in the programme for the event has a particular time allocated to it.
It takes a good story developer to create a story with a suitable theme that can hypnotize, thrill and educate the audience within 10 minutes.
Story telling is very enjoyable especially when you have the 'flow'. And in this situation, you may not find it very easy to curtail it in order to fit it into an apportioned duration.
Anyway, below is a key to help you make your story, drama or playlet fit in within 10 minutes.

Keys to writing a 10 minute drama

(1) Less number of scenes
You need at most, three scenes. Anything more than three or four scenes may tend to elongate the drama. Scene transitions and arrangement of settings of the scenes often wastes time. Remember you are given 10 minutes, so you have got to keep to time.
See below the analysis of the number of scenes in a 10 minute drama.

Introduce the Story:
Let the audience get the picture and full understanding of the story. You have to do these:
(i) Introduce the conflicts (both internal and external)
(ii) Introduce the hero, the villain and supporters
(iii) Introduce their lifestlyle (this includes culture, occupation, and daily life activities
Establish the Theme:
(i)State the reason for the drama
(ii)Send the message of the drama

This scene is not so important. But if it's required, then you may go ahead and expose more on the procedures of the 'fight' between the villain and the hero; and the effects of their 'fight' on their supporters (Note: supporters here doesn't mean you should include many cast in your story. Simple informative dialogue can solve that. You will understand this in the number 3 key)

Just conclude everything. The audience has already understood what your story is all about from the 1st Scene and the Inter scene. All they now need to see is the end. So you have to do these:
(i) Show the changes that occured in the Hero, the villain and their supporters as a result of the 'fight'. This should include the regrets and the jubilations
(ii) Show the results of the changes

(2) Less number of cast
Many characters in a story can produce a 10 minute drama. But to be safe, don't involve toomuch characters. Just two characters alone can act an entertaining story that can fit in within 10 minutes; that's if you are a good story manager. But even if you may not be a good story manager, let me hint you that the conflict in a story is always between two characters. You can use just two characters and drive your message home to the audience. It's all about management and thorough understanding of the conflict you want to install.

(3) Precise Informative Dialogue
Use dialogue to inform the audience the events that can't be shown in the drama.
All the details in the number one and number two keys above may look as if the drama may be elongated, but a very precise informative dialogue can make it very short. A simple three-sentence dialogue can turn a supposed 1 hour drama to a 5 minute show.

(4) Include only vital actions
Unecessary actions kill time. And again the absence of unecessary actions do not affect the message flow of the drama; so no need including them. Only vital actions are needed.

(5) No flashbacks and backstories
Flashbacks and back stories will definitely elongate the number of scenes. And this will affect the length of the drama.
To avoid flashbacks and backstories, choose story lines that tell the present state of the characters. Or you can use simple dialogues to tell the flashbacks and backstories.

Written by: Winston 'Winny Greazy' Oge

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