What Defines A Strong Film Character?


I’ve written several articles on how to construct  balanced, fleshed-out characters in your screenplay. You pose a series of questions relating to their physical, emotional, spiritual and socio-economic status. What are their wants and needs? What are their superficial and emotional goals in the story? How do they interact with the other characters? These questions…

What Causes Writers’ Block (And How To Treat It)?


Screenwriting psychologists who specialize in treating creative disorders unique to screenwriters have come up various theories on the causes of WBD – commonly referred to as Writers’ Block Disorder. For afflicted screenwriters it is a debilitating condition displaying the following common symptoms: staring at a blank screen for prolonged periods of time, FTW (Failure To…

6 Ways Your Characters Create Negative Impressions


Writing a successful screenplay comes down to the characters. Not only the motivations that drive their actions,  but also the impression they leave both on other characters and the audience alike. Every screenwriter is aware of a positive or negative impression a character leaves behind. Positive impressions are relatively easy to create. Such characters basically…

Writing The Second Episode Of Your Original TV Series. No pressure.


TV pilots have a special place in the world of TV writing. They serve a very specific purpose. I’ve previously written about how to write a TV pilot that producers want to make. They must introduce the world of the TV series, the main characters, their dilemmas, the format, and some clue of the arc…

8 Tips To Make Your Thriller Screenplays More Thrilling


Thriller movies are a staple of our cinema screens. Let’s explore the most significant ways to write a screenplay in this exciting and popular genre. 1) CAPTIVATION Most thriller movie scripts begin with a mystery that unravels throughout the course of the story. It could be a crime, a clue, an enigma a secret or…

7 Types Of Pivot Movie Characters


Few main characters can sustain an audience for the full length of a screenplay. Okay, Tom Hanks in Castaway is an exception. Generally speaking, the main characters in your film need other characters around them to help them achieve (or not achieve) their goal. Bring the PIVOT CHARACTERS to the mix. They are often referred…

Visualize Your Scene Description To Hook Your Screenplay Reader


The scene descriptions in your screenwriting have a tricky, sometimes tumultuous, relationship with script readers. How so, you ask? Some script readers scan through screenplay scene description to speed up their reading process. I’ve spoken to studio level readers who read scene titles and dialogue. This approach tells them the story and gives them an…

Time Is Everything In Your Screenplay


It’s script o’clock. again Your story, characters and dialogue are the nuts and bolts of your screenplay. The timing represents the grease in your screenwriting. Let’s spend some time with this important structural screenplay element. TIME PERIOD This relates to the setting of your story.  Is it historical, contemporary or futuristic? This can bed demonstrated…

How Screenwriters Should Negotiate Their Screenplay Options


Congratulations. An agent, manager or film/ TV producer is interested in your screenplay. Woo hoo! What now! You have options. Sorry. I had to throw that in. A screenplay option agreement grants a movie or TV producer the exclusive right to market your script, secure finance and attach talent. It does not grant them intellectual property…

9 Ways To Write Toxic Characters In Your Screenplay


I’ve previously written about various extreme characters you can include in your screenplay to create some really interesting stories. These range from simple liars, to the delusional, to the dark villains. Extreme characters make for highly engaging films, especially in the horror, drama and thriller genres. You can really put your psychology to work in…

How To Write The Engine Of Your TV Series


There is a term bandied around TV writers rooms called the ENGINE. What exactly is the engine of a TV show? As its name suggests, the simplest way to describe your story engine, is to define what drives every episode in the series. The engine is the nerve center of your TV series. It defines…