It’s All in the Family


Defining Character by Familial Role Family dynamics are especially useful when assembling an ensemble cast. It’s not that you’ll need to cover every gender, age, or familial role. But it is helpful to determine how each character might relate to one another in both positive and negative ways. Police detective partners, even if both heterosexual…

Photo by Ewen Roberts

An Interview with Damon Lindelof


David Lindelof Credits Star Trek Into Darkness (feature) (Producer/Writer) 2013 Prometheus (feature) (Executive Producer/Writer) 2012 Cowboys & Aliens (feature) (Writer) 2011 Lost (Executive Producer/Writer/Co-Creator) 2004–2010 Emmy Award Winner (Outstanding Drama Series) 2005 Emmy Nominated (Outstanding Drama Series) 2008–2010 Emmy Nominated (Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series) 2005– 2007, 2009–2010 WGA Award Winner (Dramatic Series) 2006…

Screenwriting tip

Screenwriting Tip #103: The Joss Whedon Gambit


Screenwriting Tip #103: You have to show us why we should love these characters. Sometimes that will involve hurting them badly. Call it the “Whedon Gambit.” They say screenwriting is about “killing your babies.” They’re usually talking about cutting your favorite scenes, not maiming and killing your favorite characters. But when the Whedon Gambit’s done…

Tyler Weaver

Fade Out


You’ve been rewriting like a madman(woman). You have killed babies. You stuck your character in a tree and threw rocks. Then scratched that out and shot at them with a gatling gun. You put your characters through a living hell of their own creation, created out of their own wants and needs, their own goals…

Film Industry

Nobody’s Perfect: The Unpaid Set-Up


“If you’ve got a problem in your third act, your problem is in the first act.” So said my favorite writer/director, Billy Wilder. Wilder is, without a doubt, one of the finest talents the film industry has ever seen. He’s renowned for his pay-offs that bring the story full circle, usually doing it in one…

Photo by tibchris

Screenwriting Tip #32: Setting as a Character


The setting is like another character. So try to make it as three-dimensional and interesting as all your other characters. Where the hell are we? It sounds like an easy question, but sometimes it’s really not. A sense of place is one of the most important things a screenplay can possess. Scripts that have it…


Rewrites: The Thinklikea Method for Screenwriters


Since we’re talking rewrites, I’d like to share with you a little piece of my rewriting method. I call it the “Thinklikea” method (note this has nothing to do with Ikea, or putting gun to head because of that little stick dude in the Ikea instruction manuals). Here’s how it breaks down… First Draft: Thinklikea……

Screenwriting Rewrites

Rewrites: The Importance of Chains


As screenwriters, we already have limitations on us in terms of format. Sometimes we have limitations when we write for others, giving them what they want (with a nice dash of what we want, of course). As writer/directors, we have budgetary limitations on us (resulting in a smorgasbord of sub-par, single-room films with boring characters,…

Photo by everywhereisimagined

Character Is…?


The engines rev. That familiar guitar tune kicks up. Cars zoom past the screen, accompanied by silhouetted characters standing all cool-like. Because silhouettes are cool. Then, a non-descript American accent. Wait a sec. Then, three dudes on a stage. Still no accent. There’s no life. It’s just dudes and cars. Which is boring


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