Pushkin loves his catnip pillow. My sister took this picture of him.
David Mamet on drama. As a follower of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat I believe that Blake's "Pope in the Pool" is a better way to think about exposition.
But Mamet does have my favorite quote about what a director's job is:
"SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC... IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST."
And you gotta agree with this:
"ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN."
What's not helpful about his advice? That his answer is "figure it out". Yeah, that's just not meanin' nuthin' at all. It's a big problem, you don't want your actors saying their subtext yet you need to convey information. You need conflict in every scene yet we have to have some understanding about what's going on. It's hard to do. Mamet knows what the problem is, he is capable of getting around it himself, yet he doesn't seem to actually be able to explain how to solve it. Interesting.