I am having a really heated arguments on the pertucal topic, it is as followed.

So I said to my friend that changing the story line of an act is improvization and dramatizing the act is just the improvisation of the acting and not the story line. But he disagrees with me on this.

Can anyone clarify me the use of those terms in context of acting?

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Hot Licks, tchrist Mar 5 '17 at 14:46

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  • Please include the research you've done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Hot Licks Mar 5 '17 at 13:40
  • I know the context is off topic, but I am trying to understand is the use of those terms are correct – Dimensionless Mar 5 '17 at 15:39
  • 1
    Let me guess, a user downvoted all the answers because they had the temerity to answer an off topic question. But now they are three answers, which means the question deserves a proper answer. – Mari-Lou A Mar 5 '17 at 17:00
  • I reckon that's about the size of it @Mari-LouA ;-) – Dan Mar 5 '17 at 20:57
  • @Dan I don't see anything amusing. If three users, not one, chose to answer doesn't that suggest they thought the Q had some merit? Why should detailed answers that include explanations and examples be penalised or punished? None of the answers are “curt copypasta snippets a linkfest elaborated upon with little to no reasoning, explanation, or original words.”, the answers below should be respected, and praised. – Mari-Lou A Mar 6 '17 at 11:00

Dramatization is the process of making a play, or movie etc., about a story which already exists. It could be based on a novel, or other work of fiction; or it could be based on something that happened in real life, perhaps historically or perhaps in the present time.

Improvisation is the process of making something up, or changing it, while you are actually doing it. For example, a person who is due to make a speech normally plans out what to say and may practice it beforehand. If, on the other hand, he simply waits until the time for the speech and then makes it up as he goes along then he is improvising.

If you and your friend decide to create a play, or movie, about a story you have read then you are making a dramatization of the story. You first decide how you are going to do it, for example, who will say what and in which order. This becomes your first draft of the script.

You then start practicing but part way through you think of something better to say, and so you say it instead of the script. You have made an improvisation. Your friend may then respond by making one of his own. By a process of improvisations you eventually come up with an amended script for the dramatization.

Alternatively, you could start off by improvising the whole thing, just deciding who would play which character and then each of you using his initiative to develop the plot as you go along.

Even while you are actually performing the play for an audience it is still possible to improvise by making sudden changes, but perhaps not advisable.


There is a clear difference between

improvisation - The action or fact of composing or performing music, poetry, drama, etc., spontaneously, or without preparation; this method of performance (OED);


dramatisation - The action of dramatising; conversion into drama; a dramatised version (OED).

The distinction between the two is most clearly understood at the time of performance. Although the process of making a drama may involve some improvisation, the primary goal of dramatisation is to convert a pre-existing narrative into a drama which is not improvised as it is performed. An improvisation, in contrast, involves making all creative decisions as you perform.

  • am I correct if I say "you are dramatizing too much". Not the script just daily life reaction. – Dimensionless Mar 5 '17 at 15:47
  • @Dimensionless - usually you'd say something like "You're over-dramatising (it)", or "Stop being so dramatic!". – Dan Mar 5 '17 at 20:55

Dramatization 1 : the action of dramatizing 2 : a dramatized version (as of a novel)

A Dramatization technically follows the script of the novel or the play, or if it is depicting a true event It is a representation of the true events.

Improvisation or improvise 1 : to compose, recite, play, or sing extemporaneously 2 : to make, invent, or arrange offhand

Improvisation means to make things up as you go along as opposed to following a script. Meaning making it up as you go along as opposed to following something that was already written.

My definitions came from webster's dictionary app.

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