Aydrea Walden’s Bio

A former news reporter, Aydrea has since written for Nickelodeon, NBC/Universal, Highlander Films, Hawaii Film Partners, Makers Studios, iO West, The Second City Los Angeles, NowWrite! Screenwriting and Disney. She has also been featured on GOOD.is and runs the satirical blog The Oreo Experience – Life as a Total Whitey Trapped in a Black Chick’s Body.  (TheOreoExperience.com)

Let’s (not) Talk About Sex, Baby or: 4 Types of Sex Scenes We Don’t Really Need to See Again

If the kids are around, you might wanna send them out of the room for a minute.  I’ll wait. Hmmhmm, dooduhdooo….did I turn off the— Hey! You’re back! Okay, so sex and sexuality are part of the human experience. We all got to Earth thanks to some very special hugs and chances are that at some point in our lives, we’ll do some hugging ourselves. Thus, it makes sense that sex and sexuality will turn up in screenplays. But there’s a way to do it so that it makes sense and there’s a way to do it that is creepy, alienating and ineffective. Here are 4 types of sex scenes that tend to miss the mark and what you can do to fix them. The scene where the lame/mean/jerky guy says something inappropriate or embarrassing to a woman but she decides that there’s “just something about him”... [Read the full article]

Want Some Cheese with that Whine? (Or: 3 Ways to Make a Sad Story Sad)

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Want Some Cheese with that Whine? (Or: 3 Ways to Make a Sad Story Sad) Death. Disease. Destruction. These things are real bummers, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to have the impact you want them to in your script. It is necessary for less-than-ideal things to happen to your characters, but not all downer events are created equal. In order to feel bad for characters, three things need to happen We must know the character and care about them. This is not to say that we’re going to laugh when an unknown character gets a bad diagnosis, but without the proper set up and character development, bad news for a character can feel at best, unimpactful and at worst, manipulative. The bad news should feel specific—like something that we definitely... [Read the full article]

Shut Up Already!

January 10, 2012 You know that as a screenwriter, you will need to put words on the page to tell your story. You may not, however, need to use quite so many of them. Writer types (myself included) often love basking in the glow from their sparkling, perfectly obscure, amazingly profound WORDS. Their characters say such amazing, impeccably-timed THINGS. They talk, Talk TALK their way through three acts, telling you not just the plot points you need to know, but also how untouchably brilliant the writer behind that masterpiece is. Not that we don’t love the Sorkins and Codys of the world. But sometimes, it’s nice to give the words a break. Hmmm, is it obvious that I watched the new silent film The Artist this week? The Artist uses maybe 20 lines of spoken or written dialogue in its entire... [Read the full article]

Getting to Know You: 5 Ways to Introduce Characters

December 8, 2011 Time is precious in a screenplay, so you want to get as much contextual information (not expositional information) out as quickly as possible. In order to understand your story, the audience will need to know a decent amount about each character’s personality almost immediately. The wrong way to do this is to have another character provide spoken exposition like the following. Imagine this scene is the first scene in a movie. INT. AMANDA’S OFFICE – DAY AMANDA (30s) sits at her desk. Co-worker DARCI enters. DARCI Hey Amanda, since you are too busy and shy to meet anyone since your recent and painful breakup from Mark who works downstairs, I thought I’d invite you to a party tonight. You’ll probably freak out at all the people there since you have social anxiety,... [Read the full article]

5 Things to Remember Before You Write Your First Screenplay

November 22, 2011 Q: What should you keep in mind before writing your first screenplay? Question from EYESthatHEAR on Facebook 1. Screenwriting is a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, there are some prodigies who can whip out a perfectly formed first draft, but most professional writers will spend months or even years on a script before they plug every plot hole, smooth every character arc and crystallize every line. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul. 2. You are writing a character’s story, not your story. Even if you are writing a story based on your life or the life of someone you know, you will need to give your character their own existence. They shouldn’t do, feel, think or say things simply because you do, feel, think or say those things. Your character needs their own motivations,... [Read the full article]

The Sum of All Parts

The Sum of All Parts A fractal is geometric shape that can be broken apart into infinitely smaller versions of itself. They look like this: Photo by Idea go. Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net They show up in land formations, on some animals, in lightning and in frost patterns. They should show up in your screenplays. How does a screenplay work like a snowflake, you ask? Well, apart from the fact that it’s unique and its existence requires you to often be cold and transient, the 3-act structure that guides your whole screenplay should also guide each scene. Your characters should be different at the end of your screenplay than they are at the beginning. At the beginning of your movie, an inciting incident forces the character to act. At the first act turn, they should make a choice... [Read the full article]

Where are You?

Where Are You As you work on your screenplay, you will notice that your characters will need to be somewhere. Whatever is happening from scene to scene, it must happen in a location that the people in your movie can populate. And since your characters are going to be stuck in these places, why not make those places interesting! The locations in which your characters appear should not just provide shelter from the elements and a place to hide the boom mic. They should tell us as much about your characters as their dialogue does, they should surprise us and they should provide pressure, inspiration and/or motivation for your characters. Any location can go from being just a set to being a place unique to your character and story. Even if the location is someplace relatively simple like a bedroom,... [Read the full article]

This is Gonna Hurt

How to Make Sure We Feel For Your Protagonist If you were to draw your protagonist’s happiness level through the course of your movie, it would look like a right triangle next to a big ol’ rhombus. You know, like this: Act I, II                                     Act III The straight line at the bottom is the timeline of your movie and the upward slopes represent your character’s happiness/contentment level through the course of the film. Nevermind about that backward slope on the other end of the rhombus. It doesn’t really enter into this equation; I’m just not that savvy with designing in word. Here’s what the other shapes are about. At the beginning of your movie, your main character has a goal. It should be a goal that is difficult for... [Read the full article]

What happens in your movie? Both TO the character and IN the character?

What happens in your movie? Both TO the character and IN the character? When developing a story for a screenplay, you need to make sure that you’re considering both the physical action of the story and the character’s emotional arc. It can be easy to favor one over the other or to neglect one altogether. I had these conversations with clients recently. Some specifics have been changed to protect the property, but apart from that, here’s how it went. #1 Me: So tell me about your movie. Client: Well, it’s set in 1715 on the coast in Japan. It’s about these four women. One’s an acrobat—she has a famous father, one’s an immigrant—her parents were killed in a car crash, one’s an architect—she also loves poetry and one’s a domestic worker who’s about to get engaged. Me:... [Read the full article]

When your characters say “Let’s go do XYZ” or “we’re going to ____”, you’re going to have some boring dialogue ahead.

When your characters say “Let’s go do XYZ” or “we’re going to ____”, you’re going to have some boring dialogue ahead. One of the challenges with screenwriting is that it is necessary for your characters to do things. There is a plot to service and so characters are obligated to take various actions. And as humans (or other thinking, feeling entities), your characters will need to puzzle through their decisions, come up with a plan and execute it. But you know how tedious it is when you’re discussing the pros and cons of the various logistics of your evening with friends? It’s just as tedious to hear characters talking about their logistics as well. BOB: What should we do for our date tonight? JANE: Well, we could go to the movies. BOB: Oh, and then we could get fro yo after... [Read the full article]

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