Let’s talk about connecting to the audience — Why is this important?

Greetings Everyone!

I will be teaching a Webinar for the Writers Store on Thursday, June 25, 2015 1:00 PM / 4:00 PM ET
The Audience’s Connection to a Screenplay: Engaging through Conflict

Screenwriters sign up now for my webinar on June 25 on writing engaging conflict. Use the code CARLA20 to save 20%  bit.ly/EngagingConflict 

At a Glance

Whether you are a novice, intermediate or seasoned screenwriter, this webinar will fuel you with insightful and important information to help you create a story with universal appeal.
Gain a deeper understanding about the fundamental importance of conflict in a screenplay.
Learn how conflict affects the pacing of your story, helps develops your main character, and connects the audience to the hero.

Please note: If you purchase any webinar, you will get a recorded version of the webinar sent to you after the presentation day. So if you can’t attend live, you will still get all the materials.


Screenwriting is a rigorous process, and for a story to work in this medium the audience must connect to the hero – you must make the audience care! However, this does not come about by giving your character good personality traits. The audience needs to see strength in overcoming; they need to see “reality” through conflict.

Carla’s passion for storytelling begins with her connection to the journey of the hero, and for an audience to root for a hero; there must be a relationship with the character based on weakness and character defect. With a background in the dramatic arts, and English literature, Carla will share with you her process for creating relatable, “realistic” characters through the use of conflict.

Discover why so many scripts fail at the get go, how good characterization is based more on weakness and need than personality traits, and how both internal and external conflict is used to move the story forward and bring the hero to transformation.


How conflict helps to deepen the main character
How conflict works in a storyline
About the many faces of conflict
Why audiences must have a connection to the hero
How to make your audience “care” about the hero
The importance of dramatic tension and how it works with the hero
The essence of storytelling, no matter what the genre
The importance of universal appeal


Screenwriters who want a story that connects to the audience
All-level screenwriters
Screenwriters who want a better understanding of dramatic conflict and how it is used in the story
Screenwriters who want to expand their writing skills
Screenwriters who want to impress readers and (hopefully) sell their scripts

Participate Live or Watch Later

This webinar includes both access to the live webinar where you may interact with the presenter and the recorded, on-demand edition for your video library. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for one year. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. In all webinars, no question goes unanswered. Attendees have the ability to chat with the instructor during the live event and ask questions. You will receive a copy of the webinar presentation in an e-mail that goes out one week after the live event. The answers to questions not covered in the live presentation will be included in this e-mail as well.

BONUS: With purchase of this webinar, you will receive $79.99 off of a yearly subscription to the Screenwriting Tutorials website, which has specialized tutorials from experts that explore screenwriting topics covered nowhere else on the web!

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: This webinar will be broadcast using GoToWebinar. To see if your system is compatible with GoToWebinar, please review this page, which lists the system requirements for the software.
Meet the Author: Carla Iacovetti

Carla Iacovetti is a published writer, awarded poet, and screenwriter. She has authored more than a half dozen screenplays, and her poetry is featured in over a dozen anthologies. Carla, who works as a freelance writer, script editor, ghostwriter and copywriter, is also a regular feature writer for the Ventura County Reporter and is a screenwriting instructor at Santa Barbara City College Center for Lifelong Learning.

SIGN UP HERE: The Audience’s Connection to a Screenplay: Engaging through Conflict
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Sticking your characters in a box: when we love them too much

While in grad school, a professor said to me, “You love your character too much.”  I was bothered by that comment for months, before the light went on.  At first I thought, “Is she kidding?  Of course I do!  I created this complicated guy.  He’s my perfectly flawed baby!  I mean, I did all the background work, and I know him so well.  She doesn’t know him like I do…”

Speaking of background work–it’s very important to write a background sketch for all of your main characters.  This process gives your characters a past that makes their personalities whole.  You may never use the things you reveal during that writing process, but it will give you a much clearer understanding as to the way your hero or heroine will respond to conflict–the conflict that must occur to send them on their life-transforming journey.  Just like journalists ask those questions: what, why, when and where, writing the history of your character will answer those questions, and help you to create a more believable personality.

However, even though you should “know” your main characters inside and out, you don’t have to like them, and if you love a character too much (stick him or her into a tightly closed box that you created), you may not be open to watching them transform in the story the way they should.  In other words, don’t get too attached to them.

The issue with my secondary character (according to my professor) was that he was not believable, and I needed to make some changes in the way he handled life situations, but I was having trouble doing that, because I only saw him a certain way.  Her comment irritated me, because I “knew” him, but she was right. I also “loved” him too much.  So much so, that I was not willing to allow the character to expand and grow (transform) the way he needed to.

So, while we need to know our characters inside and out, we also shouldn’t love them too much…don’t stick your character in a box.  Let them breathe; let them develop; let them live large in the script!

Flawed Characters — Looking At Life Sideways!

Flawed Characters — Looking at life Sideways!

I love flawed characters.  Perhaps it’s because they seem so much more real. Join me for a little analysis of the screenplay Sideways, which is wonderfully written. 🙂

Logline: Two old friends setting off on a wine-tasting road trip…only to veer dizzily sideways into a wry, comedic exploration of the crazy vicissitudes of love and friendship, the damnable persistence of loneliness and dreams and the enduring war between Pinot and Cabernet. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Failure is a part of the human condition, and whenever we see a character in a screenplay that reveals this aspect of humanity, we are somehow reassured.  In the screenplay Sideways, the protagonist has been hard-hit by the failure of his marriage and the rejection of his novel.  Through the use of good character development, well-written dialogue and conflict, the authors take the audience/reader on a metaphoric journey filled with universal appeal while covering complex life questions, such as:  depression, mid-life crisis, honesty and infidelity.
The opening scene in Sideways reveals a lot about MILES RAYMOND’S character.  Miles is hung-over, and running late for an appointment that he had forgotten about.  The opening line says it all:  “…the fuck….” A worker [painter] is standing at the door asking him to move his car.  Dressed in only underwear, a bathrobe and a pair of clogs, Miles proceeds to move his car, and ends up falling asleep in it.  It is clear that he is somewhat out of sorts as he races back into his apartment in frenzy and shouts out the repeated one-liner, “Fuck!”  He is late for an appointment.
Miles is an eighth grade English teacher and a want-to-be novelist who has not moved on after going through a divorce.  He is a loser.  In fact, he seems to be going through the motions of life passionless, with the exception of his love for wine and his fascination with Pinot.  When asked about his love for Pinot his response is not only informative about the nature of the wine, it somewhat mirrors him.  Note the following excerpt:
                        Can I ask you a personal question?
                            (Bracing himself)
            Why are you so into Pinot? It’s like a thing with you.
Miles laughs at first, then smiles wistfully at the question.
He searches for the answer in his glass and begins slowly.
I don’t know.  It’s a hard grape to grow.  As you know. It’s thin-skinned,
temperamental, ripens early.  It’s not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow
anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and
Weaving in Metaphor:
Is this explanation a metaphor that describes him? Is he admitting to his inability to weather the storms of life and his need for constant attention and affirmation?  He has not survived his divorce well, and exhibits the signs of someone who is not just down on his luck in life, but most likely depressed.  This middle-age man has been rejected in love and in his career as a writer.
In the middle of their vineyard adventures, Miles and Jack sit on the hood of Miles 12-year-old Saab sharing a bottle of wine.  Jack encourages Miles to simply write another book.  “Another” is the operative word, because Jack does not know that Miles book has been rejected.  In this moment, Miles’ loser mindset and lack of self-esteem is exposed to the audience/reader with his response to Jack.  Miles not only has no new writing ideas, he believes that he is washed up.  In fact, he tells Jack that he is not a writer!  “No, I’m finished.  I’m not a writer. I’m going to spend the rest of my life grading essays and reading the works of others…the world doesn’t give a shit about what I have to say. I’m unnecessary (a dark laugh). I’m so insignificant, I can’t even kill myself.”
Not only is Miles on a journey of self-discovery, the authors humorously use the contrast between Miles and Jack’s characters; they are alive!  The diversity between these two men is as broad as the Grand Canyon, but it works well in the storyline. In fact, there is continual tension between the two men, even though humorous, that really adds color to the story.  It is human satire at its finest.  Jack’s apparent manhood is centered on his ability to land a woman in bed. By contrast, Miles inability to get past rejection brings even more tension into the mix as they discuss their adventures with the two women the night before.  Shirtless Jack wants ever detail, but Miles is not amused, nor is he willing to share anything about his time spent with Maya.  Clueless Jack continues to try and force the conversation with big bear hugs, and flinging Miles on the bed kissing his cheeks, while affirming how “Proud” he is of him.  Miles considers this a private matter, and Jack says, “You’re kidding, right?  Tell me what happened you fucker, or I’ll tie your dick in a knot.”  The comical conflict continues until finally, in a near triumphant moment, Miles stands up to Jack and tells him that he cannot take it anymore.  “Just leave me alone, okay?  You’re fucking me up.”
While enjoying his passion for wine, Miles is on a journey of self-discovery. In Sideways, the author’s successfully use the banter between two old friends (Miles and Jack), the development of their opposite characters, and the conflict that arises in their relationship to push the plot forward and bring resolve in the end—Miles is able to move forward with his life.  There is resolve and resolution, which is essential in every story.