Creator Richie Mehta shares the structural differences between writing features and TV when it comes to plot, character, and world - and how he visually scaled the world for his series DELHI CRIME.
Fiction feature films have a very different structure than an episodic series. Some of the key differences are:
- Feature films are more plot-centered. Many character choices and events are created to serve the main plot.
- A series is character and/or world-based. Scenes do not have to relate to the main plot as long as they connect to the character(s) and/or greater world.
A summary of priorities:
- Feature film: 1) plot; 2) character; 3) world
- Episodic series: 1) world; 2) character; 3) plot
- Your audience should feel the honesty of an image even when it's a reconstruction. For example, in Delhi Crime when filming a street scene, Richie had 400 extras on set but only needed 30 of them strategically placed in the foreground to make the scene feel authentic.
- Build the feel and scale of a world using location shots as transitions. For example, Richie used b-roll of cities and streets to open up the massive world in which the police officers were trying to solve the crime.
- For Richie, the ending of a story should be precise and calculated. A good ending doesn’t tell you how to feel, rather it offers an emotional catharsis and leads you to the completion of a journey.
- Engage with the world. It’s the best way to get out of your own head and will serve as a constant source of inspiration
Richie Mehta is the creator of DELHI CRIME, which is based on the real-life events and the investigation of Delhi’s most notorious rape cases. Produced by Golden Karavan and Ivanhoe Pictures, Mehta wrote and directed all seven episodes of the series, a crime drama offering a compassionate look at law and order in the one of the world’s largest cities.