Backstory - What? How? How Much?

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Backstory - What? How? How Much?

As screenwriters we’re taught that for a character to be multi-dimensional we often need to create a sufficient backstory to him or her so that the audience has a clearer picture to understand the character’s behavior, motivations, etc. Backstory gives the audience information about a character before your story begins, typically through the use of dialogue, flashbacks, or prologue. But like most elements of screenwriting care should be taken to balance “telling” with “showing”.

This discussion will be an open forum. A few examples will be presented as a quick point of introduction to the topic, but participants will be encouraged to share examples from films where backstory is used in any of its forms and where it may be over-utilized, needed, or even absent.

Participants are required to read the following 2 articles before attending which will help frame our discussion:

https://www.scriptmag.com/features/craft-features/meet-reader-whats-backstory

https://film.avclub.com/hey-screenwriters-enough-with-the-backstory-rationing-1798217775

Participants need to have some examples in mind of how backstory was effectively used, where it was needed, as well as examples where it detracted from the story. Participants are encouraged to jot a few notes down and bring with them.

Since this will not be a lecture or panel format but a free exchange of views, to foster a robust discussion, class size is limited to 15. As such, if you sign up, your attendance will be expected. Cancellations need to be posted 2 days in advance to allow for others. Please respect this policy. The discussion will be moderated by assistant organizer Tony Severe.

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Special Note: This workshop is offered free of charge as a service of Phoenix Screenwriters Association (PSA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating screenwriters. Please consider joining as a paid member to help support this and other events throughout the year. Make PSA your professional writing organization.

https://phoenixscreenwriters.org/membership/