3 Burdens that Characters Must Bear

Minor spoilers for Widows, Boy Erased, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Front Runner, First Man, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, and Creed II. by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) Fleshing out characters can be a complex and tedious task. Deciding what details open up the character for the audience and what's simply minutiae takes maturity that usually only comes with practice... Continue Reading →

4 Powerful Orphans to Focus Your Story On

by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) Certain archetypal characters seem to appear again and again throughout storytelling history. Many early narratives told tales of youngsters without one or both parents. From Moses to Little Orphan Annie, orphans have served as heroines and heroes in countless stories, even when the plot does not specifically revolve around their abandonment. There’s... Continue Reading →

7 Elements of a Viable Story Idea

The following is an excerpt from Erik Bork's new book, The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Idea for Screen, Stage or Fiction. by Erik Bork (@flyingwrestler) I have come to believe that 60 percent or more of what makes a film or TV project potentially successful (or not) is the core idea that could... Continue Reading →

3 Principles of Story Setups and Payoffs

Minor spoilers ahead for Cray Rich Asians, Coco, and Operation Finale. by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) One of the most vital yet least discussed aspects of effective storytelling is the ability to execute potent setups and payoffs. While it may seem like common sense, the demonstration of this skill is often the factor that separates amateur scripts... Continue Reading →

3 Ways to Utilize Power Dynamics in Your Story

by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) The way that a protagonist moves through the world should be filled with challenges and tests of the ego. There is perhaps no better way to accomplish this than by thoughtfully creating differences in power between your character and the others she interacts with. Because there are so many types of power... Continue Reading →

5 Tips for Writing Documentaries and Non-Fiction Programming

by Ken Aguado (@kaguado) There’s an entire universe of media that’s sometimes overlooked by aspiring screenwriters: writing for documentary films and non-fiction television programming. We’re living in the golden age of documentaries, and there’s never been more opportunity. Every year there are dozens of terrific documentaries released and hundreds of hours of non-fiction television programming –... Continue Reading →

6 Story Lessons from Spike Lee

by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) Film auteurs have come along less frequently since their heyday in the 1970s. However, a few storytellers have managed to remain relevant, all while writing and directing their own material, throughout the decades. Spike Lee first addressed racism and the struggles of black culture in his third feature film, Do the Right Thing.... Continue Reading →

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