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Allen James Roughton is the Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator, a screenwriter, reader and development researcher who has consulted on over 100 projects, scripts, books, comics and films and conducted research on life stories, exposés, professions and locations for development at major production companies. Nick Assunto is part of the Stage 32 script services team and a repped screenwriter himself. He was previously a reader for the Austin Film Festival, a writer for the 2017 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase, co-host of the Sunday show B.Y.O.T. at UCB, and dabbled in acting, having been featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, an eHarmony commercial directed by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst (for real), and is infamously known as Tony, the annoying party member from the 'Four Friends' Elder Scrolls spots. Full Bio »
A great story starts with great characters and every great character starts with a great introduction. We challenged you to create or rewrite a scene where a major character is introduced.
This month, we challenged you to rewrite or polish a scene where a major character is introduced in one of your scripts. You had to think carefully about the characters actual description, what they do in the scene, how others react to them and their presence, their first few lines of dialogue, and anything else that impact their introduction.
We discussed character introductions on the last Breakdown webcast, so be sure to watch that if you want to see how produced screenplays achieve great character introductions, and always remember that what makes a character interesting is the subversion of expectations (creating a unique character) and giving them nuance (most great characters contain both good and bad, and have their reasons for both).
We broke down some of the best submissions received from our writers and discussed best practices on how to break through the sticking points associated with the challenge.
The Write Now Challenge
When your characters each have their own voice, you should be able to tell them apart by their dialogue alone. We challenged you to write a scene removing all character names and descriptions so that each character is distinguishable by their dialogue alone.
Most Execs will toss a script if they aren't hooked in the first 5 pages. We challenged you to create or polish a teaser or opening sequence that builds a world, characters, and plot that leave us begging to read more!
Can you tell your whole story in just six sentences? This month, we're challenging you to use Pixar's dead-simple approach to outlining to breakdown your story or help you come up with something completely new!
They say not to speak ill of the dead. What about when the dead speak ill of you? We challenged you to deftly write a 3 page scene conveying the nuances of character reactions to getting called out for being exactly who they are, but wish they weren't.
Using the investigation scene from The Wire or the AI & Wu scene from Deadwood as inspiration, craft a scene where characters communicate using as few words as possible. As a second option, use the initial meeting between Sean and Will in Good Will Hunting or Annie's wedding shower meltdown from The Bridesmaids, and write a scene where your character snaps!