Thus this paper chooses to study the drama component of the movie My Fair Lady and isolate a pattern in the use of dramatic intensity in its screenplay. Several other components could be used as basic parameters to isolate a pattern like the level of surprise associated through every defined unit of the movie. An interesting extension of the study would be to compare the trends and interrelationships of different basic elements in a movie, and see how a dominating pattern can offset the weaker parameter.
Additionally, if this method proves productive, the study of various elements over a large sample set of successful movies can give an insight into which elements dictate viewer choice most. An insight into data collection and analysis tools To study the drama interspersed in the screenplay, the movie is treated as a collection of scenes. The scenes are identified as episodes or segments with a continuity of situation or location. Another way to study the movie would be to divide it into uniform time segments.
But this method does not help preserve the continuity in drama and interferes in the process of documenting it through its logical span. It is more important to maintain a logical unit of the story and its emotions rather than a fractional physical unit of measure. My Fair Lady was divided into 16 explicit scenes for this study. Each scene in the movie was rated on the basis of its dramatic intensity (DI) on an integer scale of 1 to 10. The dramatic intensity parameter of a scene used here can be defined as the level of drama psychologically experienced by a viewer while watching a particular scene.
Though the DI parameter is subjective, it is considered to be a good measure of the scene wise response of an average movie viewer to a movie plot. Thus when summed up it can indicate the overall reaction of the viewer to the movie as engaging or non-engaging. A rounded average of ratings by two viewers was used to determine the score for each scene. Besides the tabulation of scenes in the movie and the corresponding DI scores, the table also has data for level of surprise and approx. runtime of the scenes listed.
Though these two parameters have not been used in the analysis that follows in the next section, they are of potential theoretical interest, especially in the extension of the proposition space of this paper. The level of surprise score values for this movie are very similar to the DI scores, but this is not necessary in all cases. (For example a scene may surprise the viewer by logical twists without any dramatic play. ) There are some interesting observations that can be made from the table above.
Long dramatically intense scenes are interspersed with dull scenes (with scores below a mid-score of 5). It can be conjectured that these relatively dull scenes are used to deliver insipid details that are not intriguing yet paramount to the plot, besides providing, relief from sustained high intensity viewing. The movie also has a relative quick change of scenes in the beginning and end of the movie that can be considered analogous to the introduction and wrapping up of a plot.