Larry Brody’s TV Writing Tips & Tricks #8

What’s at Stake?
by Larry Brody

Long before I got into the television business, back when I was a television viewer, I would go off on a rant about cop shows at a moment’s notice. “Why are people’s lives always in danger?” I would shout. “Why does TV always have someone looking down the business end of a gun?”

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Now that I’ve been writing a good long while, I know the answer. The reason television gives us so many cop shows and medical shows and lawyer shows is that in those situations something very important is always at stake – usually someone’s life. You don’t get higher stakes than that, and without the risk of a very big loss, all the audience can do when it sees your hero being agitated is yawn and say, “Who cares?” read article

Larry Brody’s TV Writing Tips & Tricks #7

Even More Characterization – AKA Part Four
by Larry Brody

Even when I don’t have a show in production tons of spec scripts are sent to me. Most are spec screenplays, but both they and the spec teleplays share one common flaw. Their writers are so worried about overwriting that they under write the material and fail to draw the reader into the characters’ state of mind.

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If your reader isn’t pulled into the story and made to know and share the feelings of the characters, especially the main characters, then your script isn’t going to work. It won’t appeal to producers or actors or directors, and if by some chance it gets made it will fall flat to the audience. read article

Larry Brody’s TV Writing Tips & Tricks #6

Still More About Characterization – AKA Part Three
by Larry Brody

Although F. Scott Fitzgerald, not exactly known as an action writer, said it best: “In movies, characters are what they do, not what they say.” This is the most important thing you can keep in mind when writing any script for film or TV, and believe me I know how hard it is for people like us to remember.

After all, we’re writers, aren’t we? We live and die by the word. read article

Larry Brody’s TV Writing Tips & Tricks #5

Characterization – Part Two
by Larry Brody

Once you the writer have given us, the audience, characters with whom we can sympathize, your next job is to give these new people some “tsuris,” which is Yiddish for “Trouble with a Capital T.”

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As Aristotle pointed out a couple of years ago, effective writing comes from building up to a climax, which means that once you’ve established the basic situation for your character – the neec that must be fulfilled – you can start out “small,” with only one unmanageable stress. read article

10 Screenwriting Tips from Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi is a New Zealand film and TV director, producer, writer, actor, and, yes, it’s true, comedian known for his work in JoJo Rabbit and Thor Ragnarok.

Oh, and The Mandalorian too. (It would have been criminal omit his best TV work.) read article