Studying “Room 104” on HBO

If you have HBO, try watching a TV series called “Room 104.” The premise of the show is that every story involves room 104 in a motel. Most of the stories are horror although some involve straight drama.

What makes “Room 104” interesting though is that the limitations of being in a single motel room forces the writer to create interesting characters with an interesting story the involves conflict of some kind. Rather than rely on action like car crashes or special effects, every story in “Room 104” has to create a compelling story, intrigue, and a unique resolution through dialogue and limited character actions within the limitations of a motel room.

By studying different “Room 104” episodes, you can see how the writers handle the restrictions of a single motel room. In one episode, the world is coming to an end where a little girl runs into the motel room to hide as chaos erupts outside with people shooting and stealing from each other as fires burn in the background. Then a pregnant woman enters the room and the pregnant woman and little girl become friends.

In another episode, a man is trying to convince his cousin to stay together so they can hustle people out of money in pool halls. The action takes place within the motel room but contains a complete story where one man thinks the other is cheating him out of money and they fight about it.

“Room 104” is an interesting anthology series that uses the limitations of the same motel room to force writers to come up with creative stories that have to rely on the interaction between characters, their goals, and their conflicts between each other.

Essentially, that’s what makes every story worth reading, watching, or heating, and that’s what’s lacking in so many lousy movies that rely on mindless action instead of telling an interesting story. How many scenes have you seen in bad movies that involve violence or sex in lieu of drama and suspense?

Watch “Room 104” to learn how the limitations of a setting can actually be a strength in telling a story. You don’t need exotic locations or a big budget to blow up airplanes or crash cars to make an interesting scene.

What you do need is a creative idea that intrigues the audience right from the start and then slowly plays out the story over time with increasing intensity.

That’s the key to a great story and a great scene as well.

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