7 Ways To Make Your Television Characters Leap Off The Page

Hosted by Tawnya Bhattacharya

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This Next Level Education webinar has a 96% user satisfaction rate.

Tawnya Bhattacharya

Webinar hosted by: Tawnya Bhattacharya

Writer/Co-Producer, Writing Instructor and Founder of Script Anatomy at NBC’s The Night Shift, Script Anatomy

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Webinar Summary

Learn directly from Tawnya Bhattacharya, a Writer/Co-Producer on NBC’s The Night Shift who has also written for TNT’s Perception, Lifetime’s The Client List and USA’s Fairly Legal. Tawnya is also the founder of Script Anatomy and has been a writing instructor for nearly 10 years!

Creating a unique, interesting character to anchor your television series is one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing, to focus on when developing a pitch or writing a pilot. Executives, agents, managers, and showrunners insist on compelling, complex and dynamic characters that leap off the page. Yet writers often get bogged down with story and plot, losing sight of the fact that it's characters we care deeply about that cause us to tune in to our favorite TV shows week after week.

But how do you create a three-dimensional character that audiences will fall in love with, invest in and root for?

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Tawnya Bhattacharya will teach you how to create memorable characters with drive, characters that provoke emotion and characters that stay with the audience long after they’ve disappeared from the screen. She will show you how to craft compelling and multi-dimensional characters by crafting their backstory, stage of life, flaw, core wound, dilemma and goal as well as how to design dynamic catalyst relationships and polarities, how to a unique world helps you create an interesting character, and how to design meaningful and emotional journeys and character arcs.

As points of reference, writers should familiarize themselves with the pilot episodes of Bloodline, Jane The Virgin, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Breaking Bad which, despite the fact it’s now off air, is an excellent example of where the bar is set.

You will leave this webinar with a game plan and clear tools to use while building what just might be TV's next iconic hero or anti-hero!

Who Should Attend?

  • Writers who want to write a TV comedy pilot, drama pilot, feature screenplay or novel with dynamic, multidimensional characters.
  • Screenwriters who want to sharpen their character-building skills.
  • Writers preparing to take a pitch out to studios or networks.
  • Anyone in the position to give notes and/or feedback on material, specifically regarding how to improve the character work in a story.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why It’s Crucial To Focus On Character Building
    • What Showrunners look for when hiring a writing staff in regard to character work in sample material.
    • Why a great character should lead off your pitch.
    • Plot-driven versus character-driven stories, and why readers and audiences tend to invest emotionally in the latter.
    • Tips on how to create unforgettable characters like Tony Soprano, Selina Meyer, Sterling Archer, Omar Little and Carrie Mathison – and why these characters are so effective.
  • Stage Of Life
    • How to create a relatable stage of life for your character at the beginning of your story.
    • Why stage of life helps us understand your character’s physical and mental state, motivation and greatest fears.
    • How stage of life informs character arcs.
    • Tawnya will lead detailed breakdown of Walter White’s stage of life and explain why it was so effective.
  • Backstory
    • Techniques for creating a compelling backstory including where your character came from and how that affects their worldview.
    • Mining a backstory for character core wound.
    • Tawnya will dissect examples from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Knick, Bloodline, Jane the Virgin and Breaking Bad.
  • The Power Of A Strong Character Flaw
    • Learn to create an active flaw that will get your character into situations/trouble and affect others negatively and hence create conflict.
    • Learn why flaw should be evident in every interaction a character has.
    • Differences between Network vs. Cable character flaws.
  • Core Wound
    • Learn how core wound is related to flaw.
    • Learn why a strong core wound can make an anti-hero sympathetic.
    • Tawnya will dissect Danny Rayburn from Bloodline and how his core wound was slowly revealed over the 1st season, causing audiences to relate, to understand his flaw, his behavior and his goal.
  • Redeemable Traits
    • Tips on balancing out your character’s flaw with redeemable traits.
    • How to create empathy for your character and why this is important.
    • Examine examples of characters that have well-balanced flaws and redeemable traits, like Jackie Peyton, Bill Masters, Phil Dunphy.
  • Character Drive & Goal
    • What single goal is your character driving toward and why is this important?
    • Common mistakes writes make with setting character goals.
    • Multiple/Competing goals that over power one another.
    • Differences between typical goals in comedy and drama.
    • Examples of goals that create both physical and emotional stakes.
  • Dilemma
    • Tips on how to put your character between a rock and a hard place and why this helps create powerful story structure.
    • Learn why goal often stems from dilemma.
    • Examples of strong dilemmas from Jane the Virgin, Kimmy Schmidt, The Good Wife and more.
  • Dynamic Relationship & Polarities
    • Tips to create supporting characters that drive your character further toward their goal.
    • Why dynamic characters usually have opposite flaws and traits to your main character.
    • Discussion of examples – why did Walt & Jesse work so well, or Mulder & Scully or Frasier & Niles.
    • If your two series leads are the logline of your show, then you know you have a successful dynamic relationship. For example, Castle: “A womanizing crime novelist determined to overcome writers block teams up with a homicide detective to solve crimes.”
  • Unique World
    • Learn how to use a unique world to dive deeper into character.
    • Tips to brainstorm traits and attitudes for your character from their unique time period, location, profession or family situation.
    • Discuss examples from The American, Mad Men and House Of Cards.
  • Live in-depth Q&A with Tawnya – bring your questions!

 

About Your Host, Tawnya Bhattacharya:

Tawnya Bhattacharya is a working TV writer, writing instructor, and founder of Script Anatomy. Her teaching career began at Writers Boot Camp from 2005 – 2008.

Having seen writers struggle through the process there, it became apparent what was missing, so she created Script Anatomy, a unique curriculum to give writers practical development, writing and rewriting tools based on her own process.

She launched Script Anatomy in 2010, just as she was embarking on her own television writing career. Bhattacharya brings both a ten-year teaching background and professional writing experience to Script Anatomy’s curriculum.

She is currently a Writer/Co-Producer on NBC’s The Night Shift and formerly wrote on TNT’s Perception, Lifetime’s The Client List, and USA’s Fairly Legal, with her writing partner, Ali Laventhol. Repped by ICM Partners, they are former NBC Writers on the Verge fellows, winning one of 8 spots out of 1200 applicants and also made semi-finalists for the Disney | ABC Writing Program before getting a job that took them out of the running. Tawnya was also a FOX Writer’s Intensive fellow (FOX optioned her semi-autobiographical pilot).

Bhattacharya is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

 

Testimonials About Tawnya Bhattacharya:

Tawnya’s tools for structure and story pushed me to take my work to the next level. She showed me how to channel my ideas in an organized and systematic way. Because she has worked as a TV writer for years, Tawnya brings her experience and all the lessons that she’s learned into class and gives you the tools to navigate the room. Tawnya’s approach is keenly-sharp and nurturing in a professional and enthusiastic way, all while keeping an eye on delivering the best story possible.” – April Fitzsimmons (Staff writer on ABC’s Secrets & Lies, ABC Family’s Stitchers, 2104 Disney | ABC Writing Program)

Tawnya is a dream to work with. She is a very talented writer! I believe her creative process will take her very far in this business. Her writing is poetic, lyrical and shows depth and complexity. She is every bit as strong on the page as she is in the room. She gives excellent notes to others on their creative process. She clearly understands the craft of writing. Her writing and her ability to connect with others will take her very far in the entertainment business. I highly recommend Tawnya.” – Jen Grisanti (Story/Career Consultant Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor with NBC for Writers on the Verge)

As a working television writer, Tawnya understands the inner function (or dysfunction) of “the writer.” This, coupled with her innate gift for teaching, make her class stand out in the overly saturated arena of TV writing classes, books, and seminars. Not only was her class informational, enhancing both my story and structure skills, but it was inspirational, fun, and offered a supportive environment for every participant. But, what really matters is this: Tawnya made my work better.” – Eva Taylor (2015 NBC Writers On The Verge Fellow, repped by Rain Management Group)

When I’m stuck in the writing bubble, need guidance and a fresh set of eyes on my pilots, there’s no one I trust more than Tawnya. I always walk away from our sessions with a clear plan, and solutions to the problems I couldn’t quite crack on my own. Most notably she does this without ever taking over the proceedings. My pilots still feel like my own. She helps respectfully guide the ship home, elevating the work with her effective tools and clear, cogent thought process. She has become my secret weapon and a trusted ally.- Shannon Fitzgerald (Former Sr. VP of Scripted Development at MTV)

In a very simple, straightforward way, Tawnya is able to demystify the overwhelmingly isolating process of pilot writing by giving you tools you can take away and use forever. It is an outstanding class for non-working and working writers. I will definitely be going back.- Wendy Straker Hauser (The Client List and Beauty and the Beast)

Tawnya is the real deal. When I expanded my writing to include TV as well as features, Tawnya’s class gave me the insight and expertise to elevate my craft in a medium that was foreign to me. What I like most…is that she’s a consummate pro and not afraid to tell you what you need to hear. Tawnya’s instruction is both insightful and personable – it’s the reason so many writers use her services again and again and it’s the reason I continue to use Tawnya as a coach to fine-tune whatever I’m working on”. - Chandus Jackson (Writer/Director, Repped by Verve, 2014/2015 Universal Emerging Writing Fellow)

 

About The Webinar Format:

Webinars take place online, in Los Angeles, California, USA time, using a designated software program from Stage 32. You can participate from the comfort of your own home and you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend the live webinar, you can still participate! The webinar will be recorded and you will have on-demand access to the audio recording within about 48 hours of the live webinar, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year.

About Your Instructor

Tawnya Bhattacharya is a working TV writer, writing instructor, and founder of Script Anatomy. Her teaching career began at Writers Boot Camp from 2005 – 2008.

Having seen writers struggle through the process there, it became apparent what was missing, so she created Script Anatomy, a unique curriculum to give writers practical development, writing and rewriting tools based on her own process.

She launched Script Anatomy in 2010, just as she was embarking on her own television writing career. Bhattacharya brings both a ten-year teaching background and professional writing experience to Script Anatomy’s curriculum.

She is currently a Writer/Co-Producer on NBC’s The Night Shift and formerly wrote on TNT’s Perception, Lifetime’s The Client List, and USA’s Fairly Legal, with her writing partner, Ali Laventhol. Repped by ICM Partners, they are former NBC Writers on the Verge fellows, winning one of 8 spots out of 1200 applicants and also made semi-finalists for the Disney | ABC Writing Program before getting a job that took them out of the running. Tawnya was also a FOX Writer’s Intensive fellow (FOX optioned her semi-autobiographical pilot).

Bhattacharya is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar? 
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer 

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A. 

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year! 

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

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