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Writer/Producer Julie Ann Sipos on Storytelling

COW Blogs : Bob Gillen's Blog : Writer/Producer Julie Ann Sipos on Storytelling
Picture the scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary, when Mark and Daniel square off in the street outside her apartment. One of Bridget’s guy friends throws open the doors to a nearby restaurant to tell everyone inside, “Fight… a real fight!”

Conflict
“The most critical element of any story since the dawn of time is conflict,” states writer/producer Julie Ann Sipos.

She is a widely produced and published screenwriter, author, editor, blogger, digital content creator and part-time professor of cinema and television.

“Being very nice people, we screenwriters - regardless of skill level - like to avoid this at all costs. Unfortunately, lack of some measure of conflict in every moment of every scene - even a passionate love scene, or the uplifting resolution of the feel good story of the year - is the hallmark of the novice writer. (Imagine Rhett kissing Scarlett against the backdrop of Atlanta failing to ignite; or the big on-stage finish of Little Miss Sunshine without the threat of arrest).”

Sipos presently teaches at California State University Northridge. “I teach a technique called the ‘Wa-Do-Gee’ that I in turn learned from venerable screenwriting professor Hal Ackerman. Short for ‘What does the character want and what is he doing to get it,’ the Wa-Do-Gee must be met with direct opposition by another character or event at every significant point along your hero's journey.”

“This metaphorical dance propels every story ever told toward a satisfying resolution. Obviously, in an action piece the conflict builds in a series of ever-louder explosions the hero narrowly escapes; while in a deftly-written character piece, the fireworks are gut wrenchingly subtle.

“Master this age-old storytelling technique, though, and you will master any genre technology may throw your way, now or in the future.”

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Posted by: Bob Gillen on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:47:08 am



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