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Gender and Power Female characters Workshop Stephen Cleary

Den Danske Filmskoles Efteruddannelse inviterer til Workshops:

Stephen Cleary Gender and Power: female characters - April 6.-7. & Advanced Plot and Structure Workshop April 3.- 4. 

Stephen Cleary 2 day workshop for writers, directors, producers and story executives.

It concentrates on issues around female characters but also looks at other areas like sexuality, gender fluidity, and race.

For some time, I have found the ways we traditionally think about character in screenwriting unsatisfactory. The traditional model has a single hero go on a journey which ends in success out in the world, or internally in terms of self-knowledge, or both. Sometimes, but not often, the journey ends in failure. That failure is because the hero has been unable to learn, has turned away from self-knowledge.

In life, you can have self-knowledge and still fail, and many people succeed without self-knowledge. Privileged or lucky people, like men in a man’s world, white people in a white person’s world, and so on.  Other people don’t succeed because of the prejudices of people around them, or of the society they are in.  It’s nothing to with who they are, or what they do.

For lots of characters, the model of a single hero going on a journey and achieving their goal because they take the right actions, or learn the right thing, is unsatisfactory and unrealistic. You might be able to tell a story of one woman succeeding in a man’s world, or one black person succeeding in a white world, or one gender fluid person succeeding in a gender binary world, but those are all stories of exceptional heroes.

Not every woman, person of color or non-heterosexual has a story that suits the exceptional single hero paradigm (neither does every straight white man). What if your character doesn’t have one goal, one simple “want”? What if they want to have a successful career, a happy relationship, and be a good mother, all at the same time? What if they don’t want to have to choose?

The models we have been using don’t work for all characters. The traditional model in screenwriting in the late 20th century was based on ideas explored, defined and popularized almost entirely by white men, and resulted in stories favoring single white male heroes. That’s no longer adequate in a world where diversity and non-uniformity are increasingly valued. And where the characters we want to explore are often diverse and non-uniform.

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