Theme Comes Last In The Writing Process – Pat Verducci

Pat Verducci, Writing Coach, Teacher and Mentor: I have found when I was first starting out writing that when I started with a theme like this is a movie about blank that it kind of became wooden

Film Courage: How does a writer find the central thematic spark of their screenplay? 

Pat: The central thematic spark…oh yeah that’s like the magic. That’s part of the magic that we were talking about. I think for me (and this is just my experience) is theme comes almost last. It’s not a spark in the sense of like a catalyst for an idea. For me it really is something that comes after I’ve kind of worked a lot and basically thought Oh, that’s the theme! and then No, that’s not the theme and then That’s the theme! and That’s not the theme and suddenly the theme is the thing for me that comes last. It comes for me as a writer when I have figured out who the characters are, what they want deeply, what their fears are and as I see them struggling to kind of get what they want and again it really happens for me toward the end of the writing process in revision because I may think I have a theme starting out and it’s never that never…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



Writing Coach, Teacher, Mentor and Screenwriter Pat Verducci teaches two Advanced Screenwriting courses at UCLA TFT. She has written scripts for Touchstone Pictures, Witt-Thomas Productions, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. She has also worked as a story consultant for Disney/Pixar. She wrote and directed the feature film True Crime, starring Alicia Silverstone, and her writing credits also include documentary shorts for HBO and Showtime. She co-produced Somewhere Between, a feature documentary about four teenaged girls transracially adopted from China, and served as a story consultant on the Tinkerbell franchise for Disney. She is currently the script editor on several feature film projects for Film Victoria and Screen Australia, and is writing Citizen Bella, a documentary on the life of modern dancer Bella Lewitzky. Verducci serves as a mentor at Cinestory and the Meryl Streep funded IRIS/New York Women in Film and Television’s Writer’s Lab for Women. She’s a member of the Writers Guild of America.







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