Behind the Scenes Look at Motion Capture Graphics


This TVWriter™ minion may well be one of the few people in the U.S. who has seen the film CHAPPIE, and not only did I watch, I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw.

While I was watching, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was also getting a slightly, hmm, altered look at an actor who since become one of my faves: Sharlto Copley. (And if you don’t know who he is or what he’s done that’s so great, well, first there’s CHAPPIE, and in a very close second, then there’s POWERS, a terrific TV series seen by even fewer people who’ve seen CHAPPIE. (But that’s a story for another day.)

My Sharlto Copley adoration has kept me busy google for every mention of his name. This most recent interweb find is my best yet because not only does it work for me it also should be really damned interesting to anyone into writing/directing/producing the next big CGI sci-fi masterpiece:

from Image Engine

Image Engine provides world-class visual effects for feature films. Film credits include District 9, which earned the company an Academy Award Nomination in 2010; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse & Breaking Dawn Pt. 1, The Thing, Immortals, Battleship, Zero Dark Thirty, Fast & Furious 6, White House Down, R.I.P.D., Child 44, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Elysium, Lone Survivor, American Sniper, and Chappie. Current films in production at the studio are: San Andreas, Jurassic World, Point Break, and Straight Outta Compton

2 Tips for Creating Compelling Characters

Another helpful post in SSN Insiders’ remarkable Screenwriting 101 series:



by Michael Schilf

A good story is driven by its characters. But if your characters are not compelling, the audience simply won’t care if a character achieves his or her objectives: destroying the Death Star, becoming a real boy, getting back to Kansas… or in the case of The Dude (Jeff Bridges), seeking restitution for his ruined rug, because “that rug really tied the room together.”

In order for us to care about a character, the writer must create a compelling character for whom we will hope and fear, and this is accomplished essentially two ways:

(1) First, the character must have a clear GOAL; this is his or her objective or desire, and depending upon whether the character is a protagonist or antagonist, we should hope/fear they accomplish the objective or hope/fear they will fail.

(2) Second, LIKABILITY becomes a key ingredient. When we like a character, we naturally begin to hope and fear for them. However, when a character is not likable, which is often the case with anti-heroes and villains, we at least need to be able to sympathize and/or empathize with them along the way.


When a heroic protagonist is created, he/she is usually likable from the beginning. In most genres, the hero who fights for good is introduced with charm, appeal, or magnetism. Moreover, if a character is likeable, sympathy and empathy follow close behind.

In Elf, it’s nearly impossible not to like Buddy immediately. He’s a 6’3? man-child. We like that he’s so innocent, and we can’t help but feel sympathy for him when the truth is revealed that he’s not really an elf.

However, when a character is not likeable, such is the case with anti-heroes or villains, empathy and sympathy are created in other ways.

Sympathy can occur when something awful happens, and it’s out of the character’s control. For example, if a young street thug robs a store and runs out only to be hit by a car, we will probably feel sorry for his injuries, despite his act of thievery.

Read it all at SSN Insider

Discovered: Agatha Christie’s Whodunnit Template

No one has ever written mystery stories more interesting and difficult for the reader to solve than Agatha Christie. But don’t let that get you down because guess what. As of this week – right now – the mystery of how she did it has been uncovered. And with enough patience, we can all do it too.



by Haroon Siddique

agathachristieequationFor almost 100 years, Agatha Christie has beguiled readers with her much-loved mysteries. But now a panel of experts claims to have worked out how to answer the perennial question: whodunnit?

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of the birth of the world’s best-selling novelist, academics have created a formula that they claim will enable the reader to identify the killer before the likes of Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple have managed the feat.

The research, commissioned by the TV channel Drama, analysed 27 of the prolific writer’s books – 83 were published during her lifetime – including classics such as Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. The experts concluded that where the novel was set, the main mode of transport used and how the victim dies were among the key clues.

One of the panel, Dominique Jeannerod, from Queen’s University in Belfast, said questions had long been asked about whether Christie followed a pattern. “We gathered data including the number of culprit mentions per chapter, a ‘sentiment analysis’ of culprit mentions, transport mentions and several cross-references with other key concepts of the novels,” he said.

“We were able to discover patterns emerging in several aspects of Christie’s novels: trends formed when we grouped our data via year, detective, gender of culprit, motive, cause of death.

“We also assessed the sentiment of the first mentions of the culprit in each work, using a sentiment analysis program, Semantria, to unmask themes in Christie’s word patterns and choices when mentioning the culprit. We found that, generally, for example, she employs more negative sentiment when the culprit is female, whereas a male culprit has higher levels of neutral or positive sentiment.”

Read it all at The Guardian

Stephen King On Screenwriting? Really? Hmm…

The King

By Lesley J. Vos

“Oh, no! Him. Again…”

If it was the first thought that came to your mind after reading the title, you should continue reading the article by all means.

More than that, it’s your matter of principle now.

Only the lazy wouldn’t write about King; the fact is, he is one of the most-mentioned writing specialists on the Internet. Just google something like “Stephen King writing advice”, and you’ll get dozens of search engine results, telling about the master, his writing tricks, his book On Writing, his tips on productivity, etc. One of those articles can be found here, at TVWriter, too.

But this one is not about Stephen King, a writer; it’s about Stephen King, a screenwriter.

Stephen King is one of the most productive modern writers: over his career, he has written more than fifty novels and two hundred short stories. Moreover, his screenwriting efforts include about twenty works, such as Storm of the Century, Cat’s Eye, Under the Dome, and others. He worked on the screenplay for Cell, adapted his novels Children of the Corn, The Shining (that was called one of the scariest movies in the 20th century), The Stand, and Pet Sematary, among others.

As far as you see, Mr. King has the right to give advice and share his thoughts on screenwriting without any scruples. The interesting fact is, he used to consider screenwriting the work for idiots and, as he said, he “saw many scripts that were written by idiots.”

Have you ever thought why so many books of Stephen King had been turned into movies?

He explains this phenomenon with the fact his creative sense was formed by visual imagery. And as we all know, everything in a movie is on the surface: screenwriters do their best to make audience understand and see what happens on the screen; and King’s novels and stories make us “watch” movies in our heads while reading, because the visual images he creates in stories are so detailed and bright, aren’t they?

By the way, maybe this is one of the reasons why Stephen King’s fans don’t like movies made after his books: a picture they had in heads while reading appears to be much brighter than one they had while watching a movie.

That’s what Stephen King says on screenwriting:

“I had been writing novels full-time for a year and a half, and I said to myself, ‘I want to learn how to write movies. I want to try, anyway.’ So I got a book about writing screenplays and I read it. It was bullshit. But at the end, it had a sample screenplay from The Twilight Zone that showed me what the form was. And that wasn’t bullshit. That was something real. So I took the Ray Bradbury book, Something Wicked This Way Comes and I wrote a screenplay. I learned what I was doing. It wasn’t for anybody except for me.”

As we all know, King often uses books for inspiration: he reads a lot, and the works of others help him develop plots of new stories. For example, in his interview with Goodreads, he mentioned three authors that helped him develop the plot of his most recent novel, Revival:

Arthur Machen;
H. P. Lovecraft;
Mary Shelley.

The reading list of Stephen King is quite long; it counts more than a hundred books, most of which can be found on his bookshelf.

Writing a script differs a bit: you can’t come up with a good script after watching several movies and learning the principles of dialogue creation. Most of us would become screenwriters then, right?

King concludes:

“For a long time, I felt that movies were a lesser medium because it is like skating on the surface of the narrative. Every now and then, a movie will be reduced to a voiceover and I go ‘No, no, no! You’ve clearly mistaken this medium for something it’s not.’ I came to realize that films have a language of their own and you have to learn that language. It isn’t enough to say ‘I’ve watched movies my entire life.’ You have to write a couple.”

To make a long story short,

Write without fear. Edit without mercy.


Lesley Vos is a writer and blogger at Bid4Papers. Lesley is honored to share her writing experience with others, contributing interesting content to different publications. Check her profile on Google+ to find more of her work.

Most Popular TVWriter™ Posts of the Week Ending August 28, 2015



Hmm, kinda like this image we used last week for our weekly “Most Popular” feature. Maybe we should keep it?

The most clicked-on posts by TVWriter™ visitors during the past week were:

How Does an Aspiring TV Writer Get Discovered by an Agent?

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Project Greenlight is Back

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With Liz Tigelaar, Part 1

A Short Look at What’s Expected When You Join a TV Series Writing Staff

And our most popular resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline


The Teleplay



Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Leesa Dean on Shooting Yourself in the Foot

bullet-in-footAdventures in Digital Series Land – Chapter 110
by Leesa Dean

Been working like a psycho, trying to bang out these mini-episodes and it’s been tough.  Wanna have 35 in the can before I return to final animation production on the new series—hopefully within 2 1/2 weeks. It’s a lot.

Meanwhile, in the midst of all of this, I spoke with a friend whose script recently made it into the first round of a prestigious competition.  She wrote about it on Facebook and when I congratulated her, she minimized the achievement. That mini act of self-deprecation stopped me in my tracks and I thought I’d write about it. Mostly cause it’s something I used to do all the time. Until recently.

Why? Three reasons:

1- I had some success at a pretty young age and was used to people’s jealous reactions. It’s normal. It’s part of show business. It’s hard to take. I thought if I trivialized the good things that were happening to me, it would minimize some of the personal backlash.  (Spoiler Alert: It Didn’t.)

2- I come from the kind of family where it’s mostly considered bad taste to crow about success.

3- I was kinda socialized to be that way as a woman. It’s a subtle thing, but I’ve learned that part of being successful is acting successful and if you’re female and act successful, you just might get called a bitch. Or arrogant. Sad, but true.

Ultimately, I learned the hard way, in business (and in life) it’s a fatal mistake to be self-deprecating. And trivializing an achievement is just that. If you tell people, “Yeah, I won a Pulitzer, buuuuttt, it’s really no biggie”, people will believe you. And treat you that way. Like you’re somehow not deserving of that accolade. I’m not suggesting bragging about achievements, but own them, deal with jealousy and ultimately people will treat you accordingly.

On a final, unrelated note, Will Keenan is leaving his post as President of Endemol Beyond USA. Will reached out to me two years ago when he was still at Maker, offering me a contract there. It not only meant a lot to me that he believed in Chilltown but we really hit it off. Sadly we couldn’t come to terms contractually so the deal with Maker was not be but have stayed in touch. He’s a great guy and has done so much for the digital community. He wrote on FB today that he already has new plans in the works and whatever they are I’m sure they’ll be spectacular.  I wish him well wherever he goes.

Leesa Dean is the creator of CHILLTOWN TV, a digital series to reckon with. Learn more about Leesa and the series HERE