Plot Does Not Drive Characters – Thomas Verrette

Film Courage: Do you believe it’s better that characters drive plot or is it better to have plot decide what the characters do? 

Thomas Verrette, Director, Producer, Editor: Absolutely character, character comes first. Their world needs to be challenged, it has to be organic. If the characters are going through a movie just to service the plot basically then that’s fine if it’s just like a Transformers or something where you know what you’re getting into but for the cinema side of it (writing and editing in particular) all that stuff comes back into play where if the characters are doing things in service of the plot for the plot to develop, the audience feels that. Then they get pulled out a little bit. They might give you a couple of shots, you may get a couple of chances where maybe the audience doesn’t know exactly and so they go along because there’s one little shady plot point you have to get through to get everything else to happen or you need to cut a scene out. Now it gets a little finicky but if it happens too much that’s where I think you lose interest in the movie, it kind of deflates by the end.

Film Courage: Have you ever been attracted to a film because of the character but not the plot? It held your attention so much that you were able to finish it and you can name it as one of the films that you love or at least like?

Thomas: I just watched White Lotus. That whole series is basically a character study to me and it’s not really plot driven at all. It’s obviously not a movie but because I just finished it where I was absolutely engaged throughout the entire…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here). 



Thomas Verrette is an award-winning director, producer, and editor in Los Angeles. His most recent work is “Zero Gravity”, a feature documentary about middle-school students who compete in a nationwide competition to write code for a satellites aboard the International Space Station, which premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival in 2021, and has continued as an official selection at DOC NYC, Heartland International Film Festival, Dances With Films: LA, and SCAD Savannah Film Festival, among many others. Verrette is best known for producing the FOX Sports docu-series, “Phenoms”. The series was shot in 20 countries and follows the professional and personal lives of 60 young star players as they fight their way to their respective national teams for the World Cup in Russia 2018. Verrette also edited the “Goalkeepers” episode, which premiered the series at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. Other featured work includes editing the feature “Parallels”, co-producing the series “Small Shots”, and executive producing the documentary “Ordinary Gods”. He also produced and edited the promo campaigns for multiple seasons of the critically-acclaimed series “Kingdom”, as well as “Ice”, “Rogue”, and many others while working for DirecTV/AT&T’s Audience Network. He also directed promos for “The Dan Patrick Show”, “The Rich Eisen Show”, and “Undeniable with Joe Buck”.








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