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Stories from a seasoned screenwriter. Take heart! Your creative source is infinite and un-ending. Sometimes Hollywood just rips up the roadmap back to it. The bottom line is that Hollywood is not at all as bad as it sounds. Additionally, it's worse than you can imagine. Remember to pack a sense of humor.


I am a screenwriter living in Southern California. I've written screenplays for most of the Hollywood studios over the past 20 years. One of the uncredited writers of FANTASTIC FOUR, I wrote FIRE DOWN BELOW starring Steven Seagal, and the TV Movie 12:01 PM starring Martin Landau and MANEATER with Gary Busey. I have directed short films. I have written on numerous Hollywood studio assignments, some for big shot actors, some for small shot nobodies.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All In The Family

People are social creatures. We crave community. From the busy social butterflies who need a PDA to keep their lists of 5000 close and personal friends organized, to the lonely hearts who bring in animals off the street, or just know the neighbors on their apartment floor, everyone creates community.

And so you must attend to this in creating any character in your stories.

Like a pebble thrown into a pond, and following the concentric rings out, you have to follow energy outwards from every character in your story. Everyone will have connections of some kind, a network, a web that character spins in which they live. It won't only help you refine your central character, but every other character as well.

This is the technique to keep your stories grounded and real.

There's nothing worse than reading a script about people, even if they're well drawn, who have no friends, or family - or if they do, act appropriately around them.

We all create family. We come from family and it's our nature to recreate it. Whether it's a literal "nucular" family as our President would say, or a group of young single guys in a strange city bonding together, or a group of soldiers bonding in Iraq, or a group of young women bonding at boarding school. It's all family.

So see where in the family your character falls, whether he's the hero, the friend, the obstacle or the opponent. Drama? Dysfunctional family. Comedy? REALLY dysfunctional family. And decide if your character has the energy of "the dad (stern or nurturing)" "the mom (strict or openhearted?)", "siblings" (A type first born? Fighting to be heard second born? etc. )

We all know family, what family has your character created?


Blogger Grubber said...

That last line of yours is interesting Philip, as it emphasises again how you come up with the character, and then other characters are built around it to support, antognise, etc, and confirm the character the story is about.

Thanks again for your blog, it is very interesting reading!

Hope you are able to keep it going.

Thursday, August 04, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

Thanks, grubber!

Thursday, August 04, 2005  
Blogger Jessica said...

So true. I like the tenor of your last couple posts--about what makes stories work and the connection between fiction and life. As always, looking forward to the next ones.

Sunday, August 07, 2005  

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