The Goal Of Backstory In A Screenplay by LA Writers Lab Founder Alan Watt

Film Courage: Let’s talk about backstory. Is it crucial for creating characters? Not so much with a screenplay (more for a novel)?

Alan Watt, Author/Screenwriter and [Founder of L.A. Writers’ Lab]Backstory is crucial to every story. I can’t think of a story that doesn’t need some kind of backstory.

One of the first things I do when I working in the 90-day-novel or the 90-day-screenplay, the first month of the workshop is spent imagining the world of your story which includes the backstory. They are not a separate thing. In other words I want to lose myself in the world of the story because backstory is going to become exposition. It’s necessary, it’s sort of like looking at a painting. Have you ever seen those $49 paintings where you drive out to like the airport or something and they’re selling them on the sides of the roads and it’s a landscape but it’s completely flat because it’s one coat. There is no undercoat. Backstory is the undercoat. You can’t really see it but you can…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.