Big Mistakes New Writers Make With Character – Marc Scott Zicree

Marc Scott Zicree, Screenwriter/Author: I think a lot of films are too clever for their own good because they’re just twisting and turning the plot in violation of the character and you never want to do that because the moment the audience distances from the character you’ve lost them.

Film Courage: How do you build a character from scratch? 

Marc: It can come from a lot of places. What I do is I keep a list of people that I’ve known in my life and actors that I love. all of whom are very distinctive and have different ways of talking. Every time I write a script I cast it with people who are very distinctive in my mind. In some cases it’s actors I’m going to be working with so for Doug Jones and Bob Carter and Mira Furlan and Bill Mumy I wrote those roles for them for Space Command. But in some cases it might be an actor that I’m not going to get like for instance I wrote a script called Future to Space and the template I used for the lead was Ed Harris in The Abyss because it was a great character and a great voice. It seemed very clear in my mind. I knew that Ed Harris wasn’t going to play that role (he’s too old for that role now for one thing) but it made the character very real, very alive to me and so you just make sure that nobody is just flat, nobody’s just there for exposition. I don’t tend to describe the physicality of a character because often you might have something in mind but there might be an actor who doesn’t…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Check out Marc Scott Zicree’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION here


Marc also recorded the commentaries of 54 Twilight Zone episodes on a BluRay set. Now, he’s completing the commentaries of all the remaining episodes – 156 episodes in total – and YOU can be a part of it. 




Marc Scott Zicree is the author of THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION and has written for shows such as STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION, SLIDERS, DEEP SPACE NINE, BABYLON 5, SMURFS, HE-MAN, REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and many more. Marc and his wife Elaine Zicree have worked for virtually all the major studios and networks. In addition to writing, directing and producing great projects for film, TV and books (including the forthcoming GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES), Marc and Elaine mentor thousands of others toward successful careers in the Industry via The Table industry roundtable meetings. 











Advertisement – contains affiliate links 

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)


More affiliates:

Camera we use for interviews –

Editing system –

Sound we use for interviews –

Writers, try Final Draft free for 30-days –

Other books on Amazon that Film Courage recommends –