• LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION. Trust your "gut" feelings and instinct about your characters and stories.
• BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS. Know your characters inside out. Live with them, fight for them and nurture them.
• HAVE A VISION. Believe in your ideas! Feel strong about your values, beliefs and point-of-view.
• JOURNEY BENEATH YOUR MASK. Tap into your inner world. Trust your real "Self."
• DISCOVER NEW VOICES. Write from your inner cast of characters. Allow new voices inside to be heard.
• WRITE FROM YOUR HEART. Take your childhood stories and emotions and transform them into original, salable scripts.
• GIVE THE GIFT OF YOURSELF. You are unique and original. Reveal yourself and let the world know who you are!
You can write about many things you haven't experienced and still be truthful to the character. For example, I had a screenwriter come to see me because she was given an assignment to write a screenplay about a married couple.
She said, "Rachel, how can I do this assignment, I've never been married?"
I asked, "Are you writing a documentary about marriage, or are you writing about a man and a woman and their feelings toward each other?"
She said, "I'm writing about their relationship."
I then asked, "Have you ever been in love and dealt with relationship problems? Have you ever felt jealous, lack of trust, passion, insecurity, love, lust and hate?"
Of course her answer was yes, and she realized as we spoke that although she hadn't been married, she certainly had experienced the same emotions and feelings others in love have, whether married or not. The same is true when you're forced to write about a set of characters created by someone else, as in a sitcom or hour episodic drama.
To make your stories fresh and unique is to bring your own personal feelings and pieces of yourself into the characters. Do you have to be a murderer to write about one, or a prostitute to portray one? Of course you don't. What you do have to do is take your murderous feelings or your sexual ones and put them into your characters. When I say write what you know, I don't want you to always take me literally. What I do want you to do is get in touch with the various feelings you know and write about them, so your writing and characters will be compelling, complex, and credible!
Most screenwriters who have success, usually can access their various selves and put those parts into their stories and characters, regardless of whether or not they have actually experienced the same situation. From television movies to films they achieve emotional honesty and passion when they write, because they access their inner writer.
So if you're not a mother, father, murderer, preacher, cheerleader, beauty queen, lawyer, you can still write about these characters by going beneath your own mask and connecting with all the various human beings residing there.
The following is a list of archetypal characters who Dr. C. G. Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, referred to as universal because they have been portrayed in every culture down through the ages. These archetypes have been imprinted in everyone's Collective Unconscious, which goes back to primitive man, where all emotions and feelings are collected.
These Universal characters live inside you—all of them, with some parts being more dominant than others. Open yourself to all of them—the good and the bad. Some of the most popular ones have frequently appear in films, books and television movies.
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