What Is An Origin Story?


Origin stories are the birthing stories of the main characters. Where their journeys began and why things turned out as they have? They give the audience an understanding of the characters’ psychology and helps us make sense of the choices they make in the story. The origin is the missing piece of the story puzzle…

Secrets To Screenwriting Success


Pen Densham writes for both TV and feature films and is personally responsible for reviving ‘The Outer Limits’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’ series to television. Here are his views on navigating your screenwriting career. 1) WRITE FROM YOUR HEART  As a writer, trust your instinctual creativity and write from your passion. When you don’t value…

9 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Screenplay Outlines


Outlining is an essential process to screenwriting. It helps screenwriters organize their thoughts into a logical order and remove or change the ones that don’t serve the story. Not all screenplay outlines must be on paper, although I highly recommend it, especially if you have a memory like mine. That said, I’ve spoken to screenwriters who figure…

Types Of Inciting Incidents


Inciting incidents set the trajectory of a story. They are major events in the main character’s life which forces them to action. Such a moment generally comes at around page 12 of a traditional length screenplay. It consists of a big new problem, challenge, or conflict, which the main character will have to spend the…

Evaluating Scripts


Script consultant, Ray Morton discusses his script evaluation process. Many consultants read scripts two or more times. The first pass is to get an overall feel for the script, while subsequent passes are used for the evaluation. Ray only reads scripts once to mirror the increasing workloads of creative executives. He advises writers against being…

Is Your Script Really Ready For The Market?


Here are the key factors Lenore Wright believes you should consider: 1) WHO IS THE MOVIE ABOUT? This is the first question film professionals will ask. There is only one right answer; the movie had better be about the star’s character. Movies usually focus on one character – a hero who must overcome difficult (sometimes…

Secrets to Writing a Low-Budget Screenplay


The average budget for a Hollywood movie is well over 8o million dollars according to David Santo. But if you’re waiting for a producer with a Scrooge McDuck sized jack to come along and finance your film you’re begging. A bigshot producer that doesn’t personally know you is not going to trust you to write…

Questions To Create Character Backstory


Anita Riggio asks how much about your characters do you really know? Small details might seem superfluous even irrelevant to the story you intend to write, but the smallest detail informs the bigger picture. The more you know about your characters, the better you’ll create believable characters who live and breathe on the page and…

What Is Character Backstory?


I’ve previously written about the importance of backstory in your screenplays. Here is some further pertinent information from the eLearning center at dummies.com. Backstory refers to everything that occurred in your story’s past. A character’s backstory may include family background, job history, psychological condition and any memories you create for that person from childhood on….

How To Build Your Main Character


Chris Huntley, one of the co-founders of Dramatica, spoke about the key components of a MAIN CHARACTER. They are defined as the story from whose point of view the story is told. Often, this is the protagonist who drives the action in pursuit of the main character’s goal, but not always. Main characters typically engage…

Writing Homicide Sequences


I recently attended a seminar for crime writers outlining the procedures for homicides and murders. It was lead by Sargeant Derek Pacifico and his dark sense of humor. He had us watching gruesome slides of gunshot wound victims, while we determined probable cause of death. Homicides are defined as one person dying at the hands…

Crafting The Perfect Villain


Sean Hinchey, script consultant, describes the various types of villain. After you’ve worked on creating a solid protagonist, don’t take a break and let the villain in your story wither away and die. There needs to be a person that the audience will love to hate. There are three important elements you need to remember when…