A Story Is A Hero’s Struggle Against An Obstacle To Reach A Goal – Christopher Riley

Film Courage: Chris, we had this beautifully written comment come in overnight. It’s from user Half Xbreed23 and they write “I think a lot of writers have an obsession with their characters which keeps the story from growing because they’re too in love with them. Nothing is greater than the story, nobody is greater than the story. Story is the sun, characters are flowers. The story allows characters to bloom.” 

Christopher Riley, Screenwriter, Author, and InstructorI love that. Awesome. I think that’s right, characters are in service to story, and by story, we don’t mean plot. The story is the totality of the characters doing what they do as they struggle with all of the challenges they face and a beautiful line that doesn’t support the story has got to be cut. I think one of the great challenges is, after I’ve said we should dig into our own defining moments, when we base a character on ourselves and it becomes too autobiographical, that can limit us because one of the things we have to look at are the characters flaws and complexities. I don’t want to think about my complexities, where am I a hypocrite…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Christopher Riley is a professional screenwriter who co-wrote with his wife Kathy Riley the award-winning German language courtroom thriller After the Truth. The Rileys have written scripts for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Mandalay Television Pictures, the late Sean Connery’s Fountainbridge Films and Robert Cort Productions. Christopher produced the independent action-thriller Red Line and executive produced the web series Bump+. He is the author of the classic screenplay format guide The Hollywood Standard, now in its third edition, and teaches screenwriting at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Riley’s latest book is The Defining Moment: How Writers and Actors Build Characters (through Michael Wiese Productions). 

See it on Amazon here

BUY THE BOOK – THE DEFINING MOMENT: How Writers and Actors Build Characters (by Christopher and Kathy Riley) 


See it on Amazon here

BUY THE BOOK – THE HOLLYWOOD STANDARD: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style








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