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The Many Faces Of Supporting Characters

Supporting characters serve a lot of functions in films and TV, and, when approached properly, they enhance and burnish the overall impact of visual storytelling. Let’s take a look at some of the key functions of supporting characters in...
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The Zenith of the Ass-Kicking Female Action Hero

At the Oscars this year, Brie Larson, Gal Gadot, and Sigourney Weaver presented the music awards while trumpeting the powerful women they played in, respectively, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and Alien. Weaver even cracked about how...
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“Intimacy Can Save You” Screenwriter-Producer Alyson Feltes On Hit Netflix

“Intimacy Can Save You.” Screenwriter-Producer Alyson Feltes On Hit Netflix TV Show ‘Ozark.’Alyson Feltes, writer on Netflix TV hit Ozark, starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, spoke to Creative Screenwriting Magazine...
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13 Types Of TV Writers’ Rooms Whiteboards

13 Types Of TV Writers’ Rooms WhiteboardsEvery TV writer dreams about being part of the team that plots entire seasons and individual episodes of a television series. And for some, it will become a reality. In a few weeks, scripts of each...
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“Uncut Gems” Makes for a Tense and Tumultuous Character Study

“Uncut Gems” Makes for a Tense and Tumultuous Character Study:There are many outstanding qualities to the new film Uncut Gems. It’s a vivid character study that stars Adam Sandler in his best screen performance to date. The...
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Screenwriting Advice: Give Your Characters the Power of the VOTE

Characters drive stories. Powerful characters give writers reasons to create stories around them. Directors want to create moments around that power. Actors want to channel that power. Audiences want to take part in that power. As a writer, your job...
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“Be Careful What You Wish For” Screenwriter Jillian Jacobs

“Be Careful What You Wish For” Screenwriter Jillian Jacobs Talks ‘Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island’ Do you have a fantasy? Do you imagine going to a mysterious tropical resort where dreams can come true and anything is...
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The Rarity of Rug-Pulls in the Modern Era of Entertainment

Pulling the rug out from under an audience is tricky work these days. We’ve all seen so many hours of entertainment, even the casual viewer has become well-versed in narrative structure, the tropes of Hollywood storytelling, and genre clichés....
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5 Character Traits of an Awesome Action Hero

By Armaan Uplekar. Sarah Connor. Ethan Hunt. James Bond. There’s a deep bench of iconic characters that have helped define and exemplify action cinema for decades. Between preventing nuclear annihilation, rescuing hostages and restoring...
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Writing Effective Female Characters

Throughout the history of cinema, there have been a lot of underwritten characters. Sometimes the story is amazing, but the people – the moving parts – aren’t. If you are unable to connect with who you are watching on screen on a...
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What You Need To be Writing Right Now

Even in a pandemic, I’m still getting daily calls and emails from execs and producers asking if any of my students have a new pilot spec they should be reading.Because with Amazon and Netflix committed to spending billions on new content, and...
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Showrunner Liz Tigelaar Is Putting Out “Little Fires Everywhere”

Liz Tigelaar is a writer/producer with a stellar resume in the TV writing and producing space. Her credits include Casual (2015-2017), Nashville (2013) and Bates Motel (2014). She recently developed Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu, starring,...
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“Make Something Happen Quickly” Davah Avena...

“Make Something Happen Quickly” Davah Avena on ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Are TV musical comedies having a moment? NBC thinks so with their comedy TV series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Queue a show...
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Building and Revealing Character

Simple but powerful tools for building fascinating characters and revealing their inner truth. I get Dr. Format questions flung at me every day it seems, and many of the questions have nothing to do with formatting.  For example,...
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“What Would Picard Do?” Kirsten Beyer On Co-Creating ‘Star Trek: Picard’

TV writer Kirsten Beyer is considered the knower of all things Star Trek. She seemingly burst onto our screens from writing oblivion to co-create Star Trek: Picard. Kirsten has been busy writing novels in the Star Trek Universe including Voyager and...
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Let’s Talk About Subtext In Screenwriting

Subtext – n.The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text. An inner world. A place glimpsed peripherally. Overtones.In screenwriting, subtext is implicit (intimated) versus explicit...
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“I Want To See Something I Haven’t Seen Or Felt Before” Says Roger Avary

Academy Award™-winning Screenwriter Roger Avary graced onto our screens in a big way after co-writing a little indie film called Pulp Fiction with an equally little-known screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. Avary continued his...
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TWIC: Do I Really Need a Writer’s Group?

Week ending 11/22/19. As before, all names have been changed to protect the innocent…A few days ago, a working feature writer – who, for the sake of this blogpost, will be known as Randy – came to meet me for what has become...
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Subtext- The Beauty Of What’s Left Unsaid (Or Unwritten) In Your Screenplay

A problem I frequently come across as a screenwriting consultant and instructor is the tendency of writers to overwrite and to include too much on-the-nose exposition. This can quickly mark as a screenplay as amateurish, whereas its...
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“Find Your Way Into The Story” Says Robert Reiner

Actor-writer-director-producer-activist Robert Reiner has no problem being a multi-hyphenate. Reiner first came to fame as a two-time Emmy Award-winning actor on the landmark television series All In the Family. He...
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