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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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Why Demons and Devils Make for Superior Villains

We all know that “the devil is in the details,” but why are there so many demons in movies and on TV these days? In the past two years, there have been 26 horror movies released where the primary antagonist is some sort of supernatural...
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Meaning and Toy Story 4

Two days after putting the finishing touches on the new 7th Edition of The Screenwriters Bible, I viewed Toy Story 4 for the first time.  I loved the film, but it was too late to add my thoughts about its contributions to the latest edition of...
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What An Audience Really Wants From Your Script

If you’re trying to write a successful script—-a script that gets produced and seen by a large number of viewers—-you obviously want your script to be loved by your audience. So if we want people to watch our work, we need to know...
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Write Worlds And Characters Actors Want To Play

I am convinced that actors with creative intelligence want to play roles that challenge, expand, and refresh their artistic instincts. They want to get involved with films that get noted for Oscar consideration. It’s the job of the...
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Screenwriter Ted Campbell Goes “Underground”

As part of Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s mission to showcase screenwriters making waves in the film world, we spoke with Ted Campbell who recently set up his thriller script Underground with Film Bridge International. Acclaimed director...
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Villains And Their Functions In Stories

“…But when the tragic incident occurs between those who are near or dear to one another—if, for example, a brother kills, or intends to kill, a brother… or any other deed of this kind is done—these are the...
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How a Big Life Leads to Better Writing

The other night I read a script that could be simply and, without question, described as one thing and one thing only: Derivative.The first act was almost 100% a poor man’s INCEPTION, the second and third act had bothersome parallels with EDGE...
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7 Reasons Your Characters Hurt Your Script

Your characters compel you to be honest, and this creates a challenge. The actions of the characters make your story. Writers often focus on plot, structure, theme, dialogue, description, amongst many other elements, but the success of your script...
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