How To Figure Out What A Character Wants – Pat Verducci

Pat Verducci, Writing Coach, Teacher and Mentor: This exercise is actually really helpful and what I ask them to do is to sit down and imagine their character is in a room with someone else in the movie that they trust.

Film Courage: How much easier is it for the writer if they know from the beginning what the character wants?

Pat: A million times easier, it’s a million times easier if you kind of know what the character wants. But there’s always a starting point. You think they know what they want at the beginning and you start writing with that and then it can shift and so I think it’s the most important thing. Like I said earlier, when I do consultations with people it’s the singular most popular problem in the script is what do they want, how are they trying to get it, what are they doing to try to get it, how does that make them face something in themselves and how do they grow and do they finally get this thing or do they get it in a way that they didn’t expect? I always try to start out like what do they want because I’ve learned over the years like I need to know what that is because that’s the engine that drives their actions through the story and when I don’t know that and I start to write I’m just kind of like just driving over here…(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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