Creating Compelling Characters

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This week on On Story we’ll hear from veteran screenwriters John Lee Hancock, Brian Helgeland and Robin Swicord on the process of creating compelling characters. And later, award-winning writer and director Brenda Chapman discusses how female perspective, a love of art, and an understanding of flawed characters influenced her writing in the animated classics The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt, and Brave.

Characters are the emotional anchor for all great stories. No matter how intricate the plot, well-developed characters are crucial ingredients for engaging an audience and encouraging them to invest in a story's journey. I spoke with a group of veteran screenwriters about their process of crafting compelling characters at the Austin Film Festival. John Lee Hancock is a director, writer and producer most known for his work on The Blind Side, A Perfect World and his latest film The Little Things. Brian Helgeland is a screenwriter, producer and director. His writing credits include L.A. Confidential, Man on Fire, and A Knight’s Tale. Robin Swicord is the writer of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Memoirs of a Geisha and Little Women.

Clips of A Knight's Tale courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Clips of A Perfect World courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc

Clips of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

Clips of Man on Fire courtesy of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation & Regency Entertainment

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