2021 DSE English Writing Question 9 (Sample)

9. Learning English through Drama

You want to be a screenwriter and have an idea of a TV drama series about three generations of a family.

Write a letter to the production manager at TV-Station X.

  • Introduce the characters, plot and setting of your TV drama.
  • Explain why you think this idea would be popular with viewers.

Dear Production Manager,

The Crossroad in the Triangle

I am writing to propose to you my idea of a TV drama series called The Crossroad in the Triangle which is about three generations of a lower-middle class family set in the present-time Hong Kong. The storyline centres on the university and working life of the female protagonist Suzy Lo whose adventure triggers conflicts and fights with the older generations of her family. It mainly depicts the difficulties and problems faced by the youth nowadays. I hope you would take my story into account. 

The drama series begins with Suzy Lo, a millennial born in 1997, having passed the public examinations with flying colours and feeling deeply vexed about which major study to take in the university. She has always dreamed about being a writer. However, Suzy knows very well that only the exceptionally talented writers can earn their livelihood from writing. Despite her excellent academic results, she doubts her creativity and ability in writing. Meanwhile, her parents, born in the 1960s, exhort her to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong because of the handsome salary and the high living standard that the profession guarantees. Still, Suzy wants to take a risk pursuing her dream partly because her 80-year-old grandma passively backs her up. It is later discovered that Suzy secretly changes her first choice of major study to English literature and her application gets accepted. Her parents are very furious about her decision. They have several quarrels over her future, with occasional flashbacks to their poor and hard lives in the 1960s when they had to work at the factories at an early age and could barely earn money to support their living. They try to remind Suzy of the golden opportunity that she now has of earning a decent living and securing a stable career. The first series ends with the confrontation. 

The second series follows Suzy’s university life and the problems she is faced with. In her final undergraduate year, Suzy finds the study too daunting and subsequently suffers from depression. Her parents blame Suzy for her illness. It leads to clashes with her parents again. Suzy feels guilty and painfully abandoned and looks for comforts and encouragement from her grandma who treats and tends her wounds with love and care. Suzy goes through psychotherapy and at the same time manages to pass the graduation examination. The second series ends with Suzy’s happy graduation. 

The final series begins with Suzy’s first job as a contributor to life and arts section of The Times and the challenges it poses and puts her through. She tries hard to keep up with hectic schedules and hit tight deadlines. After successfully passing the probation, Suzy suddenly experiences writer’s block and runs out of inspiration. She believes that she has reached her limits and regrets having chosen the less travelled road. Grandma discovers that Suzy cries hysterically in the bedroom and learns that she wants to give up her dream. Grandma recalls her arranged marriage at an early age when her life was mostly arranged and decided by her parents. She had no options available to choose what to do with her life. Grandma shows her appreciation for the courage of her granddaughter to choose her own way of life regardless of the strong disapproval of her parents. The final series ends with the grandma’s motto “For one thing, be prepared and responsible to bear any consequences due to one’s choice of road. Once you have chosen, commit to it and pay all the price for and efforts towards your goal no matter how many times you fail, because in the end, you have nothing to lose but only learn better.”

I believe that the proposed TV drama series would be popular with viewers and become a great hit because of several reasons. There is a growing cultural trend among the current teenagers that one should live out one’s dream instead of the wishes of one’s parents or the favours of the society. Yet, in the pursuit of dreams, they are afraid of failure, fragile and easy to succumb to the pressure of the surroundings. They hope that someone would understand and encourage them to become who they want to be in spite of how many times they fail. The series depicts not only the generation and communication gap between the new generation and the old generation but also the many trials and errors, fears and doubts, struggles and hardships experienced by the new generation when they grow up to become an adult. As there are many monologues about the inner world of the female protagonist in the series, the old generation can understand more about the thoughts and beliefs of the new generation and be more sympathetic to them. Therefore, I believe the TV drama series would certainly click and resonate with the current generation of adolescents as well as the old generation. At the same time, teenagers are in need of a role model who can set a good example for them to imitate. From the protagonist, they can learn the proactive and resilient attitude to overcome any obstacles at the time of adversity.

Given the originality and novelty of the plot, I hope that you would consider the story. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me at 9876 5432 and I would send the whole drama scripts to you for your perusal. 

Yours faithfully,

Chris Wong

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