A Writer’s Job Is To Create Questions, Not Give Answers – Pat Verducci

Pat Verducci, Writing Coach, Teacher and Mentor: Most main characters do have transformations in most Hollywood movies, there’s some growth. There are main characters who don’t transform.

Film Courage: Why is it important for writers to start their story slowly and take their time with introducing the characters? 

Pat: That’s such a great question because we need that time to be introduced to your characters to create that empathy that we talked about. That’s where you have the luxury of having a little bit of time up front to establish who they are, what they want, why they want it and to allow us to kind of be introduced to their world and really get connected to them so that we’re willing to follow them on the journey. That takes pages. I’m not saying you should spend like 20 pages introducing your main character, you shouldn’t if you’re writing a feature for sure. You pretty much do need to kind of get to that inciting incident or that call-to-adventure pretty quickly. But look at WALL-E, that little character we just follow him around in his little world doing his little thing and we learn so much about him and we basically fall in love with him and we will follow that little robot dude anywhere, right? But we also get introduced to the world and the stakes in the world and there’s nothing really living in the world. I think that’s a beautiful example of visually starting slow and letting us connect to our character and his world.

Film Courage: In The Queen’s Gambit we took some time and the back story wasn’t always clear why she [Beth played by Anya Taylor-Joy] was in the orphanage and different things are revealed later and it keeps you guessing Why is she reacting this way? Oh… Then finally you see the conversation (I don’t want to give away too much) but yeah just little snippets and it takes time.

Pat: Yeah, it takes time and also as the writer when you’re writing you’re starting to write whether it’s your pilot or your feature it’s your job is to create questions not give answers. Your job…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

 

BIO:

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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