Crooked Spine?

Writer extraordinaire, Rob Paterson has a great post about the S.P.I.N.E. of Writing. on his blog. Rob points out that for a story to be successful it must have at least one of the following five elements of the SPINE: Skills – If a story teaches the audience how to do something, whether it’s growing plants, judging wine, star-ship tactical combat, …

Dimensions in Stereo

Hate stereotypical characters? Don’t! They give a lot of great clues about humanity. Why do people use stereotypes? How do they get developed? Stereotypes tend to be cultural, religious, or sexual in nature, and they often develop through the need of human beings to order everything we perceive in the world. I remember the first time said, “People shouldn’t judge” …

Dimension X

The Story Toolkit Podcast speaks about character dimension in several of their episodes. Dimensions provide depth and clear understanding as to how characters react in various scenes. So, what exactly IS character dimension? Dimensions take a character flaw and unveil the central conflict. I’m not speaking so much of the minor, major, or tragic flaws but rather the inherent conflicts …

Blind Obsession in Characters

As we grow towards May and I, to the online course on comedy with Steve Martin, I’m thinking about what makes comedy effective. The Story Toolkit was speaking to  Blind Obsession and used It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as a perfect example of how to create great comedic characters. What is a character’s “blind obsession”? Many people consider creating character flaws. …

Virtue and Vice in Polarization

In a previous post I spoke about Polarising Your Cast. I hope to provide some updated ideas as to use other concepts that can provide polarization for larger groups than just the head, heart, and guts. Consider for example the classical Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues. The benefit is you can focus on a collision of Virtues versus Vice …

Hidden Exposition

The Story Toolkit Podcast spoke about “invisible” or “hidden” exposition in one of its recent episodes. Hiding your exposition in radio drama is tricky business. Teleplays and film scripts have the ability to point to visual cues; audio does not. Currently, the podcast listening audience seems to be in love with overly wrought exposition. This is the nature of the podcast …

Polarising Your Cast

What does it mean to polarise (polarize) your characters? I first heard this term in The Story Toolkit Podcast  episode #31 where they demonstrate excellent polarisation from Out of Gas one of the best teleplays from the amazing dead-before-its-time series  Firefly. Good writing polarises the cast allowing each character to react differently to a story event. Let’s consider the iconic characters of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy …

Lost in the Twilight Zone

As I pour through the archives of The Twilight Zone Podcast, I’m constantly faced with the question: What is it about the Twilight Zone that has made it such an iconic, lasting, and ground breaking series? Is it Buck Houghton‘s direction? Is it the format of the anthology series paired with a fantasy background? Is it Rod Serling– from his vision, …

Transitions Key in Audio Drama

Once again The Story Toolkit Podcast got me thinking. This time it was about Stranger Things (episode 23). Bassim El-Wakil and Luke Lyon-Wall in the second half of the podcast episode talk about how transitions are not just clever endings of scenes, but are key to keeping the thread of the story coherent. Isn’t that even MORE important in audio drama? …

The Last Good Man in The Beaches- Chapter One- Little Girl Lost

The credits come up in the waves at the same time as the saxophone music starts blaring. I’m standing first person, looking at the cell phone in one hand, and the burning crumpled cigarette in the other. The virtual suit is amazing. Sure it feels a little weird having a skull cap on, but the worst part was the torso. …