How To Write Great Characters – Guido Segal

Guido Segal, Screenwriter, Journalist, Film Critic, Instructor:  When you’re in front of other humans, your behavior changes and you don’t behave the same way in front of your family, your loved ones, your friends, your enemies, the cops, you’re just someone else.

Film Courage: How do you like to create characters?

Guido: When it’s based on real people the challenge is to understand who they are beyond the obvious meaning and you’ll see this with biopics, especially when they don’t work, I don’t want to get the public persona because I can find that on YouTube especially if it’s indulgent and mostly lazy self-conscious. I’m not going to talk bad or criticize any biopics but it’s like I already knew that’s an actor playing that guy but I want to see what happens backstage, I want to see what happens when they’re alone. I want to see who they were before they were well known or confident about themselves. I want to see what they do when the world is not watching. With the Chicago script I actually got a chance to talk to the guy who it was based on and there was a big challenge in there because he was a revolutionary and I think he still is a revolutionary. When he read my script of course you never adapt reality exactly as it is. You’ve got to change it up a bit and you get adapted for it to be a story because reality is chaos. Stories have a structure right and you’ve got to fudge the facts a little bit, not too much ideally. He wanted to be like a documentary so he basically called me all sorts of names. We had a great relationship until he read the script and he was like no you didn’t write it exactly as I told you. I’m like well that’s not a story…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



Guido Segal was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue his  MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA, he was a journalist and a film critic, selected as a Juror at la Semaine de la Critique, during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Segal has worked as a documentary filmmaker for History and Discovery Channel covering political topics (Asylum Seekers; Sicarios). He also has vast experience as an assistant director and screenwriter for films and TV. Segal co-wrote the Argentinian films Leones (2012) and Kékzsakállú (2016). He was also staffed as a TV writer in three shows: Un Año Para Recordar (2011-2012); La Asombrosa Excursión de Zamba (2014-2016); and Siesta Z (2016). The last two animated shows were nominated for International Emmy Awards in the Kids category. Segal has lived in Argentina, Spain and Finland, and taught Screenwriting and Film Analysis in Universidad del Cine (Buenos Aires), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), TAMK University (Tampere, Finland) and UCLA. 






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