LB: Good News for 2014 Spec Scriptacular Entrants

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hand_crampI’ve finished and e-mailed all the Feedback for the Spec Scriptacular that ended December 1st of last year. It should have reached everyone who submitted an entry by last weekend.

Whew!

If for some reason you haven’t gotten yours, email me so we can rectify the situation!

Whew! again.

There you go. No reason for you not to get busy and enter the currently running – till June 1, 2015 – People’s Pilot, right? You know how lonely I get without your work to read.

OMG! What if I’m a feedback addict?

Sigh…

LYMI

LB

Peggy Bechko: Creating a Flat, Two-Dimensional Villain

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by Peggy Bechko

Seriously. Here’s how to do it. Because there may be times when you actually want to create a ‘cardboard’ villain, one who is ‘hilariously’ even one-dimensional. There are times…

On the other hand you might want to go 180 degree turn and actually create a villain who has some moxie, some real reasons for villainous behavior.

Either way, read on.

Now some writers create antagonists who are cool as a cucumber all the time. In victory or defeat (at least the minor ones that come before the big crash) he or she is basically emotionless. The most the movie watcher or novel reader might see is a slight smile with a victory.

So, how real is this? How much does it draw in the watcher or reader? Really, no reactions? Us humans aren’t like that. Rarely, to the point of non-existent, do we do something just because we want to do it. I mean, even in the animated world the characters do things because some emotion drives them. The good writer will show that driving force and the emotion behind it. Just because a character sports flaws, actually because a character sports flaws, is reason enough to fill out his driving forces.

One of my favorite examples is Despicable Me. We get glimpses of Gru’s childhood and what motivates his desire to be a ‘super-villain’. He ends up becoming the hero of the piece, but let’s move on.

Come on, if cartoon characters have personalities and a past, then so do the others in our created worlds on paper or on screen. So talk to your characters, find out what makes them happy, sad, desperate, hopeful, frustrated. Find out what passion lies in his background and how that character utilizes it to move his plots forward.

What if your villain wants power just for the sake of power? He’s never satisfied and attacks the hero just because the hero won’t bend before him. Without passion and deep-seated motivation the villain becomes boring. Give him that passion, the psychological need that drives his actions. Maybe he had a moral compass once upon a time, but he’s been wounded and finds himself at odds with the rich and vital moral compass of the hero. Go deeper. Make the villain complex. Find the seed that grew within him to make him what he is and drives his desires.

Another antagonist that can be disturbing is one with big goals and a minion horde that helps him feed his thirst for power. We watch and we wonder WHY that minion horde would remain loyal to him as he treats them terribly, perhaps having some killed, perhaps threatening their families, perhaps throwing them as cannon fodder into a skirmish that can’t be won. This villain does a series of things that show his poor judgment, exhibits continual strategic mistakes and we all wonder why the heck anyone would be following him anymore.

The fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t, and neither would his minion horde. So what to do about that character who’s weakening the story, if not destroying it altogether?

The solution is to make the villain stronger, better, more competent. Yes, give your hero reason to rise to a real challenge. Give the hero a villain worthy of him. Make the reader and the watcher gasp, slip to the edge of his or her seat in anticipation of how the hero is going to get out of this, or fix it, or even come out on top at all.

Come on, guys, let’s have a strong villain against whom the hero can really shine. Save the cardboard for humor and parody. In a “real” story we want real motivating forces. If you have a flat villain on your hands, time to revise and edit and give your readers and watchers something real.


Peggy Bechko is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.

Hank Isaac’s LILAC Wins 3 IndieFEST Awards!

Kudos to frequent TVWriter™ contributor for making a very big score!

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He’ll be back on the site later this week with more about the making of this selfsame LILAC.

Who loves ya, baby?

Why Writers Are Better Off Than Most Other Peeps

Writers kick ass! Absolutely! We always knew it cuz, writers. But now there’s proof:

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by Vandita

Believe it or not, just 15 to 20 minutes of writing once a month is enough to make you physically and mentally strong. A study on the emotional and physical health benefits of express writing has found that there is a considerable amount of improvement in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms in people who love to write. Those who write about traumatic, stressful or emotional events spend less time in the hospital, have lower blood pressure and better liver functionality. According to researchers, writing about distressing events helps people make sense of the events and therefore reduce distress.

Another study shares some more surprising findings. Writers’ wounds heal faster than the rest of us! In 2013, researchers monitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. 76% of the group that wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, 3 days in a row, 2 weeks before the biopsy had fully healed; 58% of the control group had not recovered.

One study found that blogging triggers dopamine release and has the same emotional and physical effect that running or listening to music has.

Read it all

The Writers Guild of America, West’s Take on Net Neutrality

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Edgar Allan Poe – Demon Hunter

Aw, c’mon, think about it. Swirl that concept around in your brain for awhile.

Then add Idris Elba to the equation and think again.

Idris isn’t starring, but he is producing – a project that was first devised back in the 1970s. If that isn’t inspiring enough for even the most impatient unproduced writer, what is?

Not Edgar Allen Poe but a genuinely cool guy!

Not Edgar Allen Poe but a genuinely cool guy!

by Victoria McNally

Once upon a midnight dreary, Elba pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—and then he found an old book about Edgar Allan Poe doing battle with the devil and thought, “I would absolutely pay to see that movie.” So his company, Green Door Productions, will be overseeing a three-part film adaptation.

While it sounds like an unholy concoction of supernatural nonsense devised by the guy who came up with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter—both of which also have their own adaptations too, by the way—Poe Must Die was actually written in 1978 by the late Marc Olden. Here’s the synopsis from Olden’s website, where you can also read a sample chapter if you’re so inclined:

Against a backdrop of New York City in the 1840’s, a hellhole of crime and squalor, Edgar Allan Poe plays out a deadly game, fighting not only the demonic forces waged against him, but also his personal demons, the memory of his beloved wife and the alcohol he consumes in order to forget her.

Pierce James Figg, a renowned ex-bare knuckle fighter, has arrived in New York from London carrying with him a letter of introduction from Charles Dickens to Edgar Allan Poe. Figg is pursuing Jonathan the sorcerer and spiritualist. The man who brutally murdered his wife.

Jonathan seeks the Throne of Solomon which will grant him immortality and dominion over Lucifer, Asmodeus and all the demons of the upper air. His search has led him to New York.

Frail, gallant Edgar Allan Poe and the grieving, brilliant boxer unite in a perilous mission to find and destroy Jonathan before he can achieve his goal of controlling Lucifer and thereby change the destiny of the world.