Great stories are marked by change and one of the main ways to implement change in your story is by using character arcs. Arcs are essential story tools that directly or indirectly show change from the beginning to the end of the story. There are 4 types of character arcs: Hero’s Journey, Positive Change, Negative Change, and Flat Arc. By using arcs effectively, you will create engaging and 3-dimensional characters that push your story all on their own. So, here is a breakdown of each arc with examples that’ll help you implement them into your own story.
There is only one rule in screenwriting that you must follow. DON’T BE BORING. Telling a story from beginning to end isn’t enough to get your script bought or get you staffed. Your baby must entertain and compel the reader to finish or it’ll be tossed to the side with the rest of them. Using tools, devices and tricks will enhance the reading experience and increase your chances of meetings, competition wins, and purchases. So, let's talk about different ways to entertain your reader and make your baby as compelling as possible.
Movies and television shows are complex machines, and to learn how to create your own, you need to see the inner working parts of one that is fully functioning. The best way to learn how is to READ SCRIPTS. Binge watching Netflix is not enough to fully internalize what it takes to tell a great story. By breaking down a script to its bare bones, you’ll garner the ability to understand and tell stories just like your favorite writers. Here are some tips to help you break down your favorite movies and TV shows to see what makes them tick.
Welcome to your first D&IA (Diversity & Inclusion Anonymous) meeting. I am Shannan E. Johnson, your sponsor. Hi, Shannan… For the past decade, Hollywood has been focused on diversifying the stories told for the screen and the people who get to tell them. Diversity & Inclusion departments have been established at the major networks and studios and programs have been initiated to give access to those people in underrepresented communities who have been waiting for an opportunity to break into the industry. There are programs for writers, actors, directors, producers and even executives to help bring new and unique voices to the table of storytelling. Some of us, if we’re honest, see these new voices as a threat. And how do human beings react when threatened: Fight, Flight or Freeze. As screenwriters, none of the above options are constructive. Storytelling begins with us, which means so do diverse characters.
Sigh… then how, how, Shannan, do I check the correct boxes in my screenplay to play this new Hollywood game called diversity and inclusion? Well, I’m glad you asked:
If you want screenwriting to be your hobby that's absolutely fine, but for the majority, we want this to be our full-time career. When people think of our names, we want the term professional screenwriter attached to it. But the only way we’ll get there is if we treat our grind like a job NOW. That’s right. Right now. Professional screenwriters are constantly creating their own scripts on spec to stay sharp, relevant in the industry, and to hopefully complete their dream of getting their project produced = being paid for their creativity = being a professional. And the only way you're gonna grab that next open seat at the table against the pros is to constantly and consistently write. So, if you're wondering how you can employ yourself as a screenwriter now so you can actually get employed later, here are three tips to level up your grind.
Shannan E. Johnson, CEO