BPS 071: Crafting Complex and Memorable Characters with Karl Iglesias

On today’s show, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of Bulletproof Screenwriting’s first official audiobook Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End (FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION HERE), published by IFH Books. You’ll get to listen to a free chapter covering how to craft complex and memorable characters, which is over one hour, from this amazing audiobook.

You can’t have a great plot without having amazing characters. Strong character development will evoke emotions in your audience whether you’re writing a comedy, drama, or any other genre. To create great characters, you need your audience to connect in some way. Even if you love your characters, there is no guarantee your reader will connect with them.

If you want to elevate your scripts and stories – AND your screenwriting or filmmaking career— to the highest possible level, this class is a must. Creating characters that people connect with is no easy feat, but it is the key to writing amazing work.

If you don’t know who the author is here’s a bit about him. Karl Iglesias has been a writer for over 20 years now with varying degrees of success — an option here, a couple of contest finalists and winners there, an indie development deal, many writing and script-doctoring assignments, a TV spot for a Coca-Cola campaign — and of course, his first published book, The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriterswhich ignited my unplanned teaching and consulting career, and his second book, Writing for Emotional Impact. Since then, he has contributed to two other books on the craft, Now Write! Screenwriting and Cut to the Chase.

In between teaching and consulting, Karl keeps busy script doctoring for other writers, directors, and producers when the work comes his way, while developing his own scripts, having about ten projects in various stages of development.

Enjoy your sneak peek of BPS newest audiobook in our on-going screenwriting series. If you want to get a FREE copy just click here and sign up for a free trial account on Audible, download Writing for Emotional Impact and enjoy.

I know you’ll love Karl. I hope this helps you on your screenwriting journey.

 

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 0:36
Now as many of you guys know, bulletproof screenwriting has released its first book in a series of screenwriting books that I will be putting out very soon. But the first one is writing for emotional impact, which is written by Carl Yglesias is the official first bulletproof screenwriting presents audio book. And I love Carl's a book writing for emotional impact that had such an impact on my life in my screenwriting. And you guys know, he's been a friend of the show. He's been on the show a couple times already and was on the indie film hustle podcast, as well. And his episodes are easily some of the most downloaded episodes ever in both podcasts. So I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek at Carl's and I's new audiobook writing for emotional impact advanced dramatic techniques to attract engage and fascinate the reader from beginning to end. And in this episode, I share with you almost an hour of this book, and it is all about crafting complex and memorable characters. After I listened to this book for the first time, I was blown away at Carl's insights into character and how to craft characters that pop off the page and really engage the reader. And if you wait to the end, I will tell you how you can get a free copy of this book. So without any further ado, please enjoy your sneak peek at writing for emotional impact with Carl Yglesias.

Karl Iglesias 4:07
Looking at today's workshop, we'll be talking about connecting emotion with characters, the most important thing to do in a script. The build reveal connect process the six key questions for building character how to reveal character on the page. The three elements of character appeal and techniques lots of techniques today you'll you'll get for instant connection with with a character. But this is what it's all about in a screenplay when and even when you go to the movies you bond with a character and the reason you stay from beginning to end is because you want your the character and you want the character to get what he or she wants. So connecting the with the characters what actually allows you to do that. And it's what it's what gets the interest of the reader throughout the script. So the techniques were connected thing with a character is the most important thing, I think. So it's all about characters. Obviously, without characters, there's no story. They attach talent to your project. If you know anything about Hollywood stars are what drives the industry, meaning that when a star attaches himself or herself to your script, it's pretty much a guaranteed Greenlight, meaning is going to go into production. If Tom Cruise wanted to make the yellow pages, it would get made for summer release, okay? So it's, it's a really smart thing to do to, to focus on a character in a story. Okay, once you have your concept, start thinking about your characters, okay. And write a character that a star would want to play. They also sell scripts, because studios have deals with stars. And so they're always looking for material for characters. So that's what they focus on when they try to evaluate a script. Now, there are many techniques for creating characters. But the key here is emotional connection with your character, as I said earlier, so let's talk about emotional connection for a little bit. You've probably heard that term identification, right? When you see a movie, and somehow you don't really like it, something missing in it, and you say, Well, what's wrong, so I didn't really identify with the character, right? Or people say, well, the characters suck, you know, there's no character I could identify with. So what it means then is attachment to a particular character. Okay. When readers read a script, they find themselves becoming attached to a particular character, based on their traits, on their wants, on their goals, who they are their attitude. And we'll talk about that in a little bit. But the important thing is attachment. And the important thing is caring for the character. Frank Capra once said, The whole thing is you've got to make them care about somebody. That is the key. So when we say there's no one in the in the script that you could identify with, it just means that there was nobody that I cared for. I didn't care if they got what they want, I didn't care. You know, if they were on, you know, they were being chased by killers just didn't care, right. And so there's no connection. And the third one is empathy. The connection to characters happens through empathy. This is similar to sympathy. But Empathy means that you're, you're like really bonded with a character, meaning whatever they want, you want, whatever they feel you feel, right. We become him are the character, we like him. So let's go through this process, I was talking about building character, revealing character and connecting character. Now, you'll notice they're all in different font sizes. And I put them this way, because the order of importance, as I said, and this should be very clear to you guys, most books and seminars talk about building a character, which is important, you need to build a character. And I'll go through that a little bit. More important, though, is how to how you reveal the character on the page. Because you could have a great character, and you could have a whole Dosia on the bio and tell him tell me, you know, who they are, where they came from, what type of character they are, what they think their beliefs are psychology, the sociology, the relationships, etc, etc, we can have like pages and pages on the character, which is great. But if you don't reveal him on the page, and you don't know how to reveal it on the page, it doesn't work. Okay. And then, of course, even more important than that is how you connect with the character. And there are techniques available as a writer that you can use that instantly connect you or the reader to a character. And I'll explain in a little bit when I go through that this is the reason why you could have a character that's not quote likable, a villain, for example, and you can still have the real connect with them. Okay.

All right. So let's talk about building a character. Now, there are two schools of thoughts. One is, if you have the time, spent a lot of time building a character by job dossier. The other one, the other school of thought is a professional writer with a deadline, they don't have time to do this. So what they do is they ask themselves, the six key questions and I'll go through each of the key quick key questions. Those that do have the time I'm not saying that you shouldn't do that, but it just really takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. And you've seen that in books. It's something like this basically. Right physical characteristics, you know, name, age, gender, height, their social characteristics, their psychological characteristics there culturals you know, ethnic background education, etc, etc. You can spend months doing this and It's fine if you have the time. But there's a quicker way to do this. All right, the six questions. Very first one is who is my character? As you plan your character as you build your character, ask yourself that question. And this is the basic traits of a character. This includes coming up with positive traits, some neutral traits, some negative traits, what they believe in that kind of thing, okay, and this can be done really quickly. Now, you should also think about the type of character he is. And now a lot of people talk about this, but the reason I talk about that is because there's only four types of characters that you can create, okay? And each of these types have a corresponding emotion, instantly through it. So it's important to know, for example, if you create some point, that's a hero. And by hero, I mean someone who whose skills are higher than anyone else than the reader, for example, or the the average viewer. Okay? This includes characters like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, right, Indiana Jones, right? These are heroes. And the automatic emotion the reader gets out of that is admiration we admire characters who have all these extra skills that we don't have like superheroes, right? Spider Man, Superman, Batman. Okay. The next type of type of character is the average Joe. And these are basically all the characters that have the same skills and traits as anybody else. They're the average Joe. And that leads you to sympathy. Right? We sympathize. We relate because they're like us. And most characters are average Joe's the underdog, which leads to compassion and admiration, right? When we think of Rocky, for example, he was an underdog. And these are characters who have or don't have the skills that average people have, right. They're a little shyer than others. They're a little less intelligent than others, but they have the drive. And so that leads to admiration and compassion to we feel sorry for them, but we want them to win. And if you know, obviously, if you know from successful movies, a lot of them dealt with underdogs. That's what makes us admire them. And then the last type of character you can write is the lost soul or antihero. And that gives us pity as an emotion. So when you create a character, try to figure out what type of character they are, most of them will be the average Joe, but you have at least four to choose from, and you know, the type of emotions they get that are automatically generated by them. So be very careful about that. And the last soul antihero is the character who basically becomes darker and darker and actually has a tragic ending. Okay, like taxi driver, for example. Lester in American Beauty, actually wasn't an antihero, but the upcoming Star Wars, right. Darth Vader is a antihero lost soul. Okay. So who's my characters? Your first question. Next question is very important as you build your character is what does he or she want. And by the way, I'm just going to use he from now on, it's easier. It just means all characters including male, female, I don't want to seem sexist or anything. So what does he want? That's desire.

And if you've read the books, if you've taken some classes, you know that the key to conflict is desire plus obstacle equals conflict, right? Which to me equals emotion. A character wants something is having difficulty getting it that is the basis of all stories. So, if you want maximum motion, right, which is what you want in script, you can say that maximum intensity of desire plus maximum intensity of obstacle equals maximum emotion, right. So when you think about what a character wants, make sure it's not average, right? Make sure it's a really great desire. And also make sure that there's a lot of great obstacles to it. Because if there aren't, then that's not really compelling. So there's not a lot of emotion. Give your characters and not only your character but all your characters a goal at all times. Having a goal is what really creates interest in on the page. When when a reader read something and famous author Kurt Vonnegut once said, give your characters a goal at all times, even if it's a glass of water. Okay? Because wanting something is what creates that drive. And if you put an obstacle then we have interesting drama, right? So when you give your character, something in a scene to want and a goal and an obstacle, then you have interest. So think about that. Okay. Desire versus need. Remember that desire is not always needed. I see a lot of writers that actually mistake the two. And Silence of the Lambs for example, Clarice desire, what is Clarice desire? They want? She wants to catch Buffalo Bill, right? What is her need, though? Her need is to silence the lambs in her head from our past, right? to different things. Okay, the next question is, why does he want it and this this motivation. The reader needs to understand why your character wants something. Motivation is the mental force that forces us to act. When it comes to motivation, the only person you should know about this is really interesting is Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I don't know if anybody's heard of this. But if you ever want to know all the needs that human beings have studied Abraham Maslow, he was a psychologist who created this hierarchy of needs. And he basically put them in a ladder list with the hierarchy comes from, he basically puts out the sacraments, physiological needs on top. And this actually, self actualization needs in the bottom. And basically, his theory was that, when we have we all have motivations, we all have needs and desires, and that our very first desires is always the physiological ones, you know, safety, food, water, shelter, and then we won't, we won't worry about the other needs, until we actually get the first one. So there's actually a hierarchy from bottom to top as we go along. So there's safety needs, there's belonging, there's self is self esteem. There's cognitive needs, and there's self actualization needs. And the reason this is important, not only to understand not only to understand the motivation of human beings and why they want something, okay, but actually, I don't have it deals with basically, it's important because of the stakes. And stakes is what's at stake for the character. How badly does he want it? What is the character prepared to do to get what they want, I read a lot of scripts where I understand what the character wants, I understand why they want it. But there's nothing at stake for the character, meaning that if the character fails, there's nothing bad that's going to happen as a result. And so it's not important to us, we don't care. Some people call it the or else factor. And the reason they call it there is because the character must do something, or else something bad will happen. Okay. So established dire consequences, the higher you going the ladder that I showed you the hierarchy of needs, the more compelling the stakes, and goes, the stakes get higher as you go up from bottom to top. Okay? And if you know what are the highest stakes there are for human beings is life or death, right. And those are right here, Survival Food, water. So if you start the higher you go on that list, the higher the stakes, if you want to come up with stakes, just keep going up and up and up.

So it doesn't always have to be about survival, you know, could be about safety could be about security. It could be about belonging and need and love, right? Some people's have a need to be loved and have to be their stake. If they don't, if they don't get the girl, they're going to die emotionally. Okay, next question. The fifth question is What's his problem? And this is what we deal with the inner needs, the flaws of the character, the fears, the secrets. For example, in Star Wars, right, Luke character feels the need for adventure. Rocky feels the need to be like he is somebody could be a need for self worth, self esteem. characters could have flaws, obviously. All this actually is in the books. If you read a book on creating character. This is all the stuff they talk about. This is the building part of it. The flaws obviously often relate to the character arc, and I'll talk about character arc in a second. That's the sixth question, right? When a character is flawed, right, we want to Want to see how their journey to the end changes them. So when you think about the flaw that usually gives you the the character arc you can pit the flaw against the need. Let's see the character in as good as it gets, right the Jack Nicholson character, his flaw is that he just hates humans. He just wants to be left alone. Right? But what is his need? His need is that he needs love, it needs to connect with a character. Okay. And when you pit those two against each other, that creates a really interesting conflict. Right? So always think about if you can have a when you create a flaw in a character, if you create the need as the opposite of it, you have you can you have the potential for interesting material. So that leads us to the famous character arc, everybody talks about the character arc. How does the character change? While we're fascinated by characters who change? In other words, why is this important at the emotional level? And executives will always ask you this, if they don't understand how a character changes or when you pitch something they always want to know how does the character change? It's very important for them. And I'll tell you in a second why it's so important. Because I've seen riders I've seen scripts where they don't don't really care about that they feel well, Indiana Jones never changes man actually does. But James Bond never changes. Okay, so they figure Hey, you know, I don't want to deal with that. It's too psychological mumbo jumbo I don't care about, but let me tell you why it's important. The very first reason is because it stimulates our curiosity. Now curiosity, and I'll do that in the story seminar is one of the most important emotions in storytelling. Okay. So when you have a character that has a flaw, and you can see that he's gradually changing, it stimulates our curiosity, we want to know how is he going to change? So let's use the the Melvin Udall character, the Jack Nicholson character and as good as it gets, right. This is a character that's introduced, and he's had lots of flaws. Okay. And we want to know, how is he going to change because we know he's interested in, you know, the Helen Hunt character. So we're curious. So right away, we're connected, right? So that's one important thing. It also adds conflict. In a story when somebody has flaws. It creates conflicts in scenes. It's also a model for improvement. As you know, stories are metaphors for life. They're metal, they're like teaching us how to live in a sense. Okay. So when we see a character that's flawed, and we see him go through this journey, it kind of gives a model for us to see how change goes, we'd like we might recognize ourselves in that character, right. A negative change is a cautionary tale. When we deal with an antihero, for example, who just keeps going darker and darker, who doesn't change, or changes for the worst? It's a cautionary tale for us, meaning that it tells us Do not act like this character, or else this will happen to you. It adds a sense of significance in the story, meaning that you feel after you've read the script of seeing the movie for two hours, and you see a character change, it makes you feel that this story was significant. Meaning that there was a reason why that story was told. And I don't feel I wasted my time because I saw somebody change through the journey. Now let me talk a little bit about arc versus a moment of change. Because what I see a lot in scripts is the writers understand that a character must change. And so they write this script, but they have one scene at the end where the character changes in the changes dramatically, right? And that doesn't work. The reason doesn't work. Because arc, you know what an arc is, right? An arc is not just one moment, it's a gradual thing. So you got to be careful when you plot the journey of the character and the changes, plot the changes throughout that journey to the gradual changes, you want it to be a gradual thing, not a moment of change, because it's not as believable. So these are your six questions that you should ask yourself. And these six questions should give you enough material to create a great character and what they you know, their journey you have everything you need, their, their traits, their desire, their motivation, their stakes, their inner need, or flaws or fears if you have them and their character arc, okay, so you don't have to go the whole, you know, bio, all these things are not that important unless they're actually important to the story. Okay, so let's go to the second main area of the process, which is the revealing a character process and that's also very important. So to give you a six tools to reveal character. Now, everything that I talked about about building a character is fine and important, but if you don't know how to reveal on the page, it doesn't work. Right. You wasted your time. So the first one you have there's only six ways you can you can reveal character on a page, first one is description and name. Okay, you describe a character on the page, hopefully in your description of the character should give us a little idea about the character right there. So it's a good way to reveal the character, and also their name. A lot of people don't think about how powerful a name could be when you come up with a name. I can't tell you how many Joe Smith I see. And scripts, I mean, it's just, you know, boring, if you can come up with something that's really interesting. And also, a lot of times I see, I know, some writers who really take the time to think about a name of the character, it actually means something, you know, there's a reason why an unforgiving they're clean character clean. This was characters called William money. Okay? Because it was all about that. That's what he needed. That's what he wanted. Okay? All right. Contrast is a huge tool you have at your disposal, you can write a whole book on that, because it creeps up in a lot of different areas. Okay? Contrast for revealing a character, for example, you can do that contrast within himself. Okay? In other words, come up with two contrasting trades, okay, and you can reveal them, either, you know, reveal one and reveal the other. And that contrasting one on trade gives you more power on the other one, like for example, like in painting, if you you can count, if you have blue, and you surrender with yellow, it just intensifies the blue. Okay? So same thing, if you contrast one trade with another, it intensifies the other one. So contrast with himself, you can also contrast the character with other characters. Okay. And that means surrounding a character with characters that are the opposite. This is the reason why buddy pictures are really popular, because they usually make sure that the two characters are the opposite of each other. And then you, you see the sparks fly. Okay, and you can contrast a character with his environment. And this is the famous fish out of water concept. You can reveal characters through other characters. One of the most fascinating areas for writers in dealing with scenes is relationships. Right? A lot of people forget about relationships, they have characters in scripts, and they're always by themselves. And they always do things by themselves. And it's just more interesting if you have relationships and explore relationships in, in a story. So how other characters talk about him is a way to reveal a character and this way called gossip and how others are affected by him. And that's the relationships. Okay? If you show a character affected by human character that tells us something about the main character. Dialogue obviously, is a great way to reveal character. And I won't go into the depths of depth of dialogue. I'll do that in my my dialogue class. But obviously, individual dialogue reveals something about character, okay? If the character's voice is unique, it'll tell us something about the character. Tell us where they from, you know what class they are, etc, etc. One of the most important ways to reveal characters actions, reactions and decisions. You can reveal character through the choices they make, especially if the choices are made under pressure.

If a character has a dilemma, for example, dilemmas are something that a lot of writers talk about. Okay? The reason it's so interesting is because the dilemma is a choice between two Lesser Evils for example, we don't know which choice they have, they have to go how many people see 24 I've seen the show 24 Beside last night, that was like the last five minutes right. That was where I go the most intense dilemmas I've ever seen anywhere in the history of storytelling really, it really was a great episode. For those who has haven't seen it, the the Jack Bauer Jack Bauer character brings in a Chinese dissident who was working with the terrorists and needs that the information about where the bomb is or where the villain is, and the character is dying. The Chinese guy has a bullet in just dying and he's bringing him to the to the I guess the hospital, the place where they the surgeon, and the surgeon is actually operating on the boyfriend or the ex husband of Jack Bauer's girls girlfriend at the time right now and she's like, we just figured out that you know, the girlfriend is about to go back with the guy who's like about to be operated right so there's the choice there this check bar comes in he needs the information or where the bomb is or else millions of people will die. But the surgeon is busy operating on the guy that we care about too Right? So he has to make a choice and at the point you know Jabbar actually points a gun at the surgeons and I need to operate on that knowing that if he switches bodies, the other guy will die and then the girlfriend will hate him and boy that was so Really, anyway was really intense, really intense. But that's a perfect example of dilemma. Right? That was a huge dilemma. Okay? Do I say Oh, and by the way, the guy that was being operated saved his life, meaning that he really cared about that character. But he had to make a choice, he had to make a choice, either save him, or save millions of people.

Alex Ferrari 30:20
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Karl Iglesias 30:31
Okay, so the lemma is actions, we actually decisions tell you about the character, okay. And actually 24 is a perfect example. Because the jack character every hour makes all these decisions are technically dilemmas, right. And that kind of tells you a lot about a character. In that there's a trick that a pretty big name writers told me about, it's called a three column brainstorming trick. And you guys will be happy to learn this one. If you don't know it. It's basically you make three columns. First column, you label what I know about a character is called traits and attitudes, right? In the first column, what do I know about the character? Let's, let's say for example, I know my character, his approval, for example. Okay. Now, you're not going to tell us that the character is frugal on the page. That will be telling us, right, you want to show that the second column you're going to label? How do I know this? How do I know my character is frugal, and that's basically exposition. And so how do I know for example, that my character is frugal? Okay, you could have them, you know, at a restaurant, for example, and, you know, trying to like, there with a calculator is there with a friend trying to figure out how to split the bill, for example. Okay. So that's the exposition, okay, and then how will I show it is the third column? Actually, the second column, the third column is pretty similar, because how do I know it is also could be known through how you show it, and that would be the characters actions. Okay. So in this case, in the restaurant, when the character behaves in a way that shows he is frugal that tells the reader that he's frugal, you don't have to say the word frugal at all in the whole thing, right? You let the reader decide. So what do I know about the character? How will I know how do I know that? And how will I show it is a good way to reveal that and mannerisms are, you know, a little takes that the characters have like, for example, when we introduce Don Corleone in The Godfather? What do we see? Right we see him stroking a cat. Okay. That's a mannerism that's the cat is the prop in this case. Remember Kramer's entrances in Seinfeld? Gate. Those were his mannerism. He had the same manner of entering drastically into Seinfeld's apartment right. And that was a way of showing character. Indiana Jones whip is a prop. Colombo's raincoat is a prop tells a lot about the character. CO Jack's lollipop is a prop. Graduate Marx cigar, for example. Right? So mannerism props are little things you can add to a character throughout that tells us something about the character good way to reveal the character. Okay, moving on to the most important part of this seminar. And that is connecting with a character how do we connect with the character? And why do we want to connect with the character, the very first thing you need to know is that it happens really fast. The reason we recommend writers to introduce their main character as soon as possible, is because the reader automatically they're waiting to bond with the character or same with an audience. Imagine you're in a theater, the very first thing you want to do is connect with a character. It's a natural human thing to do. So the very first character you see in a movie or an on a page on a script, you go oh, is this the main character and you automatically connect? Okay, you want him to follow that character and see what he wants? And then if you see, okay, that's not an important character, like if you, you know, introduce a waitress or some URI, okay, the waiter that the waitress is not and so now, you know, you're trying to find another character to bandwidth so it happens really fast. And I'll show you what happens to, to, to a reader when they connect with a character. And the reason it's important is because if it's not your main character, then you know, it's actually a negative thing. Okay? I've had a lot of scripts were with the character was not important, but they if we follow them for about five pages, that's five minutes of screen time. And then we realize that's not the main character, we feel frustration, and that's not good. Okay, so be careful happens really fast. We're critical. We're an opinionated human race, basically. And the second character shows up on screen, we already start building an opinion about the character. Okay? So why is empathy so important? It gives us a more intense emotional experience in the theater and on the page.

For example, when you hear about a jetliner that crashed, for example, and 200 people died, you feel sympathy for the carrier, you feel sad for the characters. But if you know that one of your friends were on that flight, that's a different reaction, right? In other words, the emotional intensity of that is more is more intense, because you knew that person was you, you were bonded with a character. Okay? So when you connect with a character, their journey is our journey. It's no longer their story. It's our story. Okay, when you connect with Indiana Jones, you're falling, it's you going through all these emotions. Let me go real quick through the three elements of connection. The three elements that create character appeal, the very first one is recognition, which creates empathy. And by recognition, I mean, we understand we recognize that character, if we see their traits, for example, we recognize those traits, if they say they want something, and we feel it's valuable, then we want that for them. And so we recognize that and we connect with the characters to the recognition. This is why you see a lot of scenes where the character has a speech along the lines along the lines that I want. I always wanted I dream of, you know, when the character says what they want, we're supposed to empathize without we understand them. fascination is the other element of character appeal. And that generates interest. Going back to our Jack Nicholson character, for example, you know, as good as it gets, right, you can say that that was the most fascinating characters in film history, right? And the reasons for that are actually let me go through each one real quick. Recognition, fascination and mystery. About a character which creates curiosity and anticipation are the three elements. Okay, so recognition is the reader understand what your character wants. The reader recognizes the emotions expressed in a scene. When you see a character that you care about feel sadness, we recognize that and we empathize. Sympathize also. Okay, fascination which leads to interest. So let's look at a Jack Nicholson character, for example. And the way a character can become fascinating is through paradoxes. And by that I mean, conflicting traits, right man when I talk about contrast, right. So paired conflicting traits within the character gives you a paradox. attitudes and values is a way to create fascination. And attitudes are the points of view that a character has about the world. You want to also add details and complexity to a character. Pay attention to the details. I have a quote here by Joe Esther has. I like to see the grades into character. I like characters who have one front and many, many layers underneath. I like complexity. I like to surprise people with different facets of personality. I like the surprises within the characters, the contradictions, right? That's the paradox. You can certainly see these types of characters in in in Joyce who has his work jagged edge, Basic Instinct.

Okay. Can we talk about villains a little bit? Because there's a lot of controversy in the screenwriting world where characters, you know, you hear a lot of characters have to be likable. Okay. And on the other hand, they say that, the more fascinating the villain, the more interesting your script, which is true. Okay. So they will the problem is that they create heroes that are really likable, and are kind of like vanilla, right? They're like really boring. And they create villains who are like, really, really bad, right? So what they don't understand is that the more fascinating the villain, the more interesting the story, but knowing that how you create fascination is creating all these things. Right? How do you do that? And so let me talk a little bit about how you do that. And it also explains how you could create a story that's really interesting. With a character that's technically a villain A good example of this is the Godfather, The Sopranos, right? Tony Soprano. You don't really morally agree with what they do, but they're a fascinating character. And the reason is fascinating is because of all these elements are just talked about the way to do this with villains. And how do you how do you empathize with villains is that you basically add some appealing qualities to the villain. And I was don't be afraid to have the villain. In the case of Tony Soprano, for example, the reason we kind of found that it was fascinating we liked him is because the villain had a family and he loved his family and you love this kids. Okay? Another example is Hannibal Lecter and so on. So the lambs, this is a character that became a pop icon, right, culturally, and this was a psycho killer cannibal. How is that possible? Right? How did it became big? The reason for that is because the writer gave him some good, quote, attractive qualities. Okay, not only was he a killer, but he was also, you know, polite, right? He was charming. He was witty, he cared about Clarice, you wanted to help her. Those are positive qualities. Okay. And this shows you how you can create somebody that you don't actually relate to, in a sense, but because you have these qualities in this character, you at least think that they're fascinating, you want to follow them. Okay. And this is very important, because I've read a lot of scripts where the intention of the writer was not what was on the page, meaning that they created a character that was supposed to be a villain. And we ended up liking him at the end. And the writer could not understand why was it possible that was the effect the fact of the scene, and then when actually, you know, was consulting with that writer and tell them Well, this is the reason why we like him, and boom, boom, boom, and go out. Okay? Okay. And the reason was because they were giving him good qualities, in addition to the bad ones, okay? But this is how important it is and how empathizing is such a powerful thing. So if you give the villain attractive and appealing human qualities, at least it balances that it makes the character more fascinating. Okay, the third element of appeal, character appeal is mystery.

which generates curiosity. In other words, every time you can set up a question

about the character, that's a good thing, because it creates curiosity. Okay. And that involves, for example, what makes the character tick? And what will they do next? You're in a great position as a writer in your story, if you can create that feeling of what will the character do next? I'm so fast with that character. I just don't know what makes them tick. Okay. You see that a lot in Quentin Tarantino's characters, for example, in Reservoir Dogs, there's a lot of characters who are so like unstable, you just don't know what they're going to do next. And you're just like glued to the stream? Right? Trying to find out what's going to happen. You can create mystery curiosity through the character emotions. Meaning if you know, if you don't know what they're feeling, you want to find out what they're feeling okay, in the scene. And there are specific ways you can create and control those emotions and that through the action reactions and interactions of the character in the scene. Another way is think about the events that would elicit a particular emotional reaction from the character. If I want to make a character angry, for example, I want to show that the character is angry.

What event would create what event would elicit that reaction, that emotional reaction and that's how you create character emotions in a story.

Okay, now we're getting to the real good stuff, the instant connection humanizing with a character, which a lot of people have called a rooting interest, right? When you root for a character. How do you create that instant connection with the character no matter what character it is, whether it's a villain was a hero, or it's a minor character, obviously, you want it for your main character. If you can get the reader to connect emotionally with that character, you're way ahead. And I'm going to give you the most powerful techniques right now. Of how you can do that and this happens instantly. You will recognize after I go through all this you will recognize this techniques in movies when you see it, okay, you won't actually I always warn people before the tech my seminars, tell them you will never see a movie the same way again, because you will see those things on the screen. Once you know what they are, you will see them but that's what you need to do, right? You're like a magician. If you see a magic trick, right? And you're like, wow, but the illusion if somebody explains that trick to you, you see the trick again, it's not the same, right? Well, this is what's going to happen. Okay? So I warn you, if you guys don't want to see that, you can leave. Okay, or turn turn DVD off. All right. Okay, there are four, actually three areas. And I'm gonna I'm going to tell you what the areas are and give you these specific techniques. The most powerful one is that we care about characters we feel sorry for. Every time you feel sorry for a character, we instantly connect with a character, you can take somebody who you totally hate. And if you suddenly you do something that makes us feel sorry for that character, we not like him for that particular instant. Every time you feel sorry for a character you instantly connect with a character. We also like characters who have humanistic traits. And the third one is we like characters who have qualities we all admire. And I'll go through each one of them. Okay, let's start with we care about characters we feel sorry for the very first one is undeserved mistreatment and injustice. Every time you create a scene or an event for character, that is technically a mystery, mistreatment of that character, okay, something that's unjust. Okay, we feel sorry for that character. So show others unjustly mistreating a hero, this creates pity. And also if you add brutality to that, it the bonus points on that actually say that bonus points for a defenseless character. If the character is defenseless, it creates more sympathy. So one of the reasons why we felt a little connection to Hannibal Lecter is because if you remember the prior scene prior to when Clarice wants to want to see a Hannibal Lecter. He was set up as the most great Hannibal the cannibal. They were setting him up as this totally evil, scary character right. But when she got to it, we saw how he was mistreated by the psychologist and suddenly we had we felt a little sorry for Hannibal Lecter. Okay, so that was the first time when you create undeserved misfortune now by misfortune I mean bad luck tragedy when somebody loses somebody dear to them, we feel sorry for them. When a loved one dies when your your house gets repossessed, for example, okay, bad luck. One of the ways we're connected with the Kimball character the Harrison Ford character in the future because it starts and how does it start? He just lost his wife his wife just got murdered okay. So this is how the rider may did it undeserved misfortune. Now obviously the opposite of that is that if it is deserved misfortune, right which we see that in a villain at the end he gets his his do we don't feel sorry we feel actually feel happy right? So the key point here is undeserved. Okay, when a character has physical or mental handicapped think of my left foot Rain Man Forrest Gump stars love these roles by the way, this is what gets him Academy Awards. Right so if you can add that to your character, we feel sorry for them. Anytime you set up frustration or humiliation in a character that's embarrassment when a character feels embarrassed in a scene think how many times in American Beauty in the beginning when they're setting up, Lester, when they're setting up scenes where he's embarrassed right when it comes out at his house and he drops his you know, his attache case and all the papers right? Go over and the wife insults him and his daughter insults him that's a key connecting point right there. Okay, embarrassment.

moment of weakness. Anytime you depict the hero when he's at a weak point, we feel sorry for them. You see that usually in the end of the second act when the character is at his lowest point and that could be any suffering, whether it's mental, psychological emotional suffering.

Okay, abandonment when a character is abandoned by loved ones, for example, think of home alone, right. Kramer versus Kramer the beginning when they his wife abandons the husband and the kid we feel sorry for them. Oliver Twist is a perfect example of being abandoned by parents. When a character is betrayed, we feel sorry for them. So betrayal is a pretty good technique. Think of in the verdict, when we realize that his girlfriend is actually working for the opposition, right? That moment we feel sorry for the Paul Newman character. This is something that writers like to do, telling the truth but not being believed, is a pretty powerful technique. Think of North by Northwest when he's trying to tell everybody this day he's, you know, he's being chased by spies. Nobody believes him. His mother doesn't believe him in Beverly Hills Cop when he's trying to tell the police that you know, Victor maintenance or whatever his name was, is a bad guy. Nobody believes him. Think of ghosts. Right? When the Whoopi Goldberg characters trying to warn them or tell him something and she's not being believed? Every time you're like desperately trying to make somebody believe something that they don't believe you will feel sorry for you. All right, moving on. We have exclusion and rejection. Every time you have the excluded outsider who wants in to a club or a family and they're not letting him in. Spielberg does that in the boy Neeti when he tries to play with his friends with his brother and his friends and they won't let him in. They won't let him be part of the group and we feel sorry for him. Along the same lines, we have loneliness and neglect. When we open Citizen Kane and the characters dying alone, we feel the Jack Nicholson's character in as good as it gets his loneliness we feel that because he is obsessive compulsive. So loneliness is a pretty good emotional connector. Feeling guilty when making a mistake that causes pain to another person. We saw that in Finding Nemo for example, where the father felt sorry, felt responsible for the loss of his son. Right. You also saw that in Spider Man where spider man felt guilty for the murder of his uncle, he felt that he was responsible for letting the burglar leave and actually ended up killing his uncle.

So whenever a character feels guilty that he made a mistake which caused pain another character.

When a character represses pain throughout a story, we feel sorry for them. Perfect example of that is the Rick Lang character in Casablanca, replacing the pain of his last love in Paris. And also in Sleepless in Seattle, where Tom Hanks is repressing the pain of his last wife. And then I saved the most common one, the most powerful one for last and last. And that's life engagement. Every time you put your character in danger, we're instantly connected and we care. Jeopardy is always works. Okay, we'll move on to the second category, which is we like characters who have humanistic traits. So every time you show a character who lets down his defenses in a private moment, and that concludes the villain too. And it was kind of a cliche, but now well, we saw that in the getaway, where the villain those Michael Madsen, player, Michael Madsen, is really nasty villain. And then there's a little moment where he has a little kitten, you know, an actual talk a little bit about that, that's called petting the dog. But anytime, you know, it shows that he cared about an animal. So that's showing his humanity in private moment. And if you show the amount in a private moment, and then that privacy is invaded, and he's humiliated on top of that, that's bonus points right there. So you can combine the two when the villain invades the privacy and humiliates the hero, because that creates extra sympathy for the bill for the hero and you know enmity for the loading for the villain. Anytime you show a character that helps a less fortunate Mother Teresa for example. Anybody who works with animals anybody that has seen short circuit, the Allie Sheedy character where she has the stable of animals, you just can't say no, right? She takes care of the less fortunate. That's the humanistic trait. When you relate to children when you like him when your character likes children and when children like the character this was done very well in Jerry Maguire okay, I was I talked earlier about but patting the dog. This is a very, very, very common technique and you got to do it really well or else it's really cliche and obvious and that's when a character likes an animal and you know Pat's the dog and this works also when the animal lacks the character and because you know animals are supposedly are able to tell innocence right? So if if, you know you could have somebody you think is a villain, but if the dog or a cat like some, then you feel okay is not that bad, because they can sense these things right. Now, interestingly, this doesn't work with cats. Because of the vibe they give, how many times have you seen the villain right? Who has a cat? Right? The hairless cat especially the hairless cat, right, like Blofeld? You know, in James Bonds, right? There's something about cats or dogs that look like rats basically. Okay, anytime a character has a change of heart. You know, where's like, when they're opposed to something for a partner for a certain time, and then they change their mind. When they help a friend, when they come to the aid of a friend, Han Solo at the end of Star Wars is a perfect example. Think about the reaction we had as a crowd when Han Solo who all this time said not want anything to do with you guys at the end comes in and saves Luke from Darth Vader, right. And along the same lines of that, when they risk their life for another human being. That's a humanistic trait. When they actually sacrifice themselves, and actually die for another human being. When a character fights for a just cause anytime a character thinks or cares about something that's important to them that's outside of themselves when they care about something else a cause. And when they die for that, cause that's very powerful. Right? Remember Braveheart at the end, he died for the cause. When a character is ethical or moral. That's a humanistic tray. Especially when they're faced with temptation, and

they refuse that they overcome that. We like them. When they're also dependable and loyal and responsible. That's a humanistic trait. And when they love other people, family and friends, you see that a lot in romantic comedies when you need to set up a character. Right in the beginning, you have to set up two characters in the first act and the romantic comedy of disruptive man and the woman. And so there's a lot of these techniques you see, because it needs to be done real quick, real quick, you know, enough time to really take your time to develop the character. And the first thing you see usually is, you know, they love other people. Okay? And other people love them. Actually, there's gonna be a technique in later on, but you see him right there like you know, the whole lot of friends and family loved them and stuff. And that's a way to, for us to like the character. And basically any nurturing act kind of covers everything else. We've talked about any kind of acting, kindness, caring any act of generosity. You know, when somebody tucks in the tuck somebody in cares when somebody when they heal a wounded especially if it's a child. Any act of altruism, selflessness, compassion, kindness, those are humanistic traits. Okay, so that was the second set of techniques. And we're gonna go to the third one, which is we like characters who have qualities we all admire. First one is power and charisma. Somebody who's a leader think about Patton think about Lawrence of Arabia, Braveheart. Okay, so there, it could be power over other people. Always powerful over other people like in The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Wall Street, could be power over what needs to be done if somebody is powerful enough to always do what needs to be done. We like that. And any character who has the power to express his feelings knows he doesn't care what anybody thinks. Right? They're so secure in themselves that they can say whatever they want, like the character in Beverly Hills Cop. We like it because it just says whatever. on his mind, he doesn't care about the repercussions. Same with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson's character. Okay, somebody who's courage who has courage, we admire people who are courageous, who have the courage to solve their problems. And that could be physical courage or mental courage. Now, it doesn't have to be courage, like, you know, like a soldier's courage. But a character was courageous enough to take on the journey to solve the problem. Someone who's passionate, we admire that someone who's attractive, someone who's skilled at what he does. When you create a character in a particular field, their job if you can make him that they're the most skilled at what they does that they were in high demand. That's something we admire in characters. And you see that also a lot in romantic comedies, where the character whatever job they're in, they're the best at what they do.

Somebody who's thoughtful and wise. So thoughtfulness and wisdom is a good technique. Somebody who's witty and clever. A lot of the Eddie Murphy roles fit that category, somebody who has a sense of humor, somebody who's playful. physicality and athleticism. Anybody who's physical, anybody who's athletic, could be a dancer could be a sports person. Carrying on despite vulnerabilities, even when not forced, somebody is wounded, and still continues on, we admire that. Now, as long as they're not forcing somebody puts a gun to their head, then okay, they're forced to do it. But if they're not forced, and they still gone, we admire that. So especially like if they're handicapped, for example, and they still know well, how can I still do it? Anyone who's eccentric somebody has a unique way of living. Think of Amelie, for example, when the reasons we liked her so much. Free Spirit. We talked about underdogs earlier. Any underdog who tries hard, it seems everyone loves an underdog thing. It's ingrained in our DNA. We see that a lot in beginner scripts where the character is just passive. They just always react to something. And it's fine in the first act. But in the second act, it's got to be something that's you know, more active with with the character takes action to solve their problem. And I spoke with this little earlier that was surrounded by others who adore him. That's the probably the most common technique. Because it's quick and easy. It actually makes sense in a scene surrounded by others who adore him. And you see that a lot in romantic comedies, because it's the quickest way. In short, I've given you 50 techniques that you have at your disposal to connect instantly with the character. And this is very important for your main character, very important for the reader to connect with a character so that, you know, we follow their journey to the end, and we care about them. Because if we don't care about them, you know, that falls flat. So basically, make sure you can you make us feel sorry for that character. Make sure you give your character humanistic traits and give your characters characteristics that we all admire, and you should be all set. So good luck to you.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:44
I hope you enjoyed your sneak peek of writing for emotional impact. And if you want to get a free copy of it, all you got to do is head over to the show notes at bulletproof screenwriting.tv forward slash 071. There you will find a link to a free copy of the audiobook on audible.com. Now if you do not have an account with audible.com already, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial. And during that trial, you can download this book for free. If you want to go directly to that all you have to do is go to free film book calm, and that takes you directly to the free trial. Or if you just want to buy the book outright. Just head over to the show notes. I hope this episode has helped you on your screenwriting path guys. I do love Carl. And that's why I wanted this book to be the first book and a soon to be coming series of audio books by amazing authors in the screenwriting space. So thank you again so much for listening, guys. As always, keep on writing, no matter what. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.


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BPS 061: What are the Essential Elements in ALL Successful Stories with Karl Iglesias

Today on the show we have returning champion Karl Iglesias. His last episode is one of the most popular shows ever in the history of the podcast. I wanted to bring him back to dig deeper into his thoughts on writing for emotional impact and breakdown the essential elements of every good story.

Karl Iglesias has been a writer for over 20 years now with varying degrees of success — an option here, a couple of contest finalists and winners there, an indie development deal, many writing and script-doctoring assignments, a TV spot for a Coca-Cola campaign — and of course, his first published book, The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriterswhich ignited my unplanned teaching and consulting career, and my second book, Writing for Emotional Impact. Since then, he has contributed to two other books on the craft, Now Write! Screenwriting and Cut to the Chase.

In between teaching and consulting, Karl keeps busy script doctoring for other writers, directors, and producers when the work comes his way, while developing his own scripts, having about ten projects in various stages of development.

Enjoy my conversation with Karl Iglesias.

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 0:06
Today on the show we have returning champion Karl Iglesias, who's a screenwriter, author, script doctor and all around screenwriting guru and his last episode, which was I think Episode Seven, here on the bps podcast is one of the most downloaded episodes in the history of the show. So of course, I had to bring him back at one point or another, to dig in deeper to his methods and discuss the essential parts of what all good stories have the power of adding emotional impact to your writing. And we even talk a little bit about the Joker. So without any further ado, guys, please enjoy my conversation with Carl Yglesias. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion Carlin glass. Yes. How are you, sir?

Karl Iglesias 2:45
I'm doing great. Thanks. Pleasure to be here.

Alex Ferrari 2:47
So you have a distinct honor of being one of my very first guest ever on the indie film hustle podcast. You were number episode number eight. Wow. And you were kind enough to give a fledgling podcast, they're an opportunity to interview you, sir, all those years ago. And that interview is done. I mean, I think that that's interviews downloaded 10s of 1000s of times over the course of the last four years. It's It's been one of the most popular ones. And we've always like, Oh, we gotta get you back on the show. We got to get you back on the show. We got to finally we'd like let's, let's do this.

Karl Iglesias 3:22
After so yeah, glad I finally found the time.

Alex Ferrari 3:28
No, but I appreciate it. It was such a wonderful interview talking about the craft. And I told him and like I said before, you know you were one of the first people I reached out to you because your book, creating emotional impact was one of those really pivotal books that I read. It was actually it was a producer that I was working with on a movie. And they said you should read this book after they read my screenplay. They're like you should read his book, it's probably going to help you. And I was blown away by not only the emotional impact, but I remember just those little segments, there was a segment in that book that like, if you have this word in your screenplay, too many times just go in and do a find and replace this word. or replace this with like this, those like lazy words that you use for writing. It's like, when people read this, it's like those little things I had just blew my mind when I was writing the first time. Yeah, because the whole thing

Karl Iglesias 4:16
was from the readers. My whole concentration is the readers emotional experience. So you got to remember that when you're writing a script, your very first audience and only audience will be a reader reading that script. Right? And if they pass on it, that's it. You're done. So you're really writing for one reader.

Alex Ferrari 4:33
And if you can get and if

Karl Iglesias 4:34
you can make everything the reading experience the description, let alone of course the craft of storytelling, right but it doesn't actually experience of reading a script is so important.

Alex Ferrari 4:43
But what I wanted before I even get into the questions I want the audience to understand in regards to writing a screenplay because I've written screenplays, I've written books. I much rather write books. There's so much more freedom theorizing Oh my god. It's Writing seems so easy, because it's like less words. It's less words. It's less pages. It's like, Oh, it's easy. You know, my first book was a movie.

Karl Iglesias 5:07
And we go there movies all the time. My

Alex Ferrari 5:09
first book was like, I think, almost 60,000 words, and my second books, almost 60,000 words. And I wrote them like water, it was just like, Oh, this is easy. I can, in the first book was was a narrative story. So it was kind of like, Oh, I could do this, I can do that. There's no economy at all. We're in a screenplay, you have to be so economical. And I want you to just explain to the audience that when you're reading a page, you need to look out into a sea of white. That is the goal is a sea of

Karl Iglesias 5:39
white space. Yeah. As much more as

Alex Ferrari 5:44
Yes, as much as much white space as you can get. And, you know, descriptions, how long should descriptions be all this kind of stuff? So please just explain the whole sea of white. Well, I

Karl Iglesias 5:54
mean, it's obviously there's also an art to it. There's a you know, a lot of producers and development executives that I talked to they look for voice right, it's the voice of the writer. And it's the same with fiction, but with screenwriting it's even better. So there's, there's a sense of, of weariness, of rhythm of visual imagery, vividness. But the key is, the best analogy I find with screenwriting is that it's called it's visual poetry. Right? So you know how poetry is very, very high because exactly Haiku is even is even more intense and short. Right? But, but if you think of poetry as opposed to prose, one of the one of the mistakes that I see a lot with beginning writers screenwriters is that they write as if they're writing prose. So it's like we call it a very novelistic voice in the script that describe too much, when you really should think about how to describe the same thing with the least amount of words. So it's really more about poetry and visual poetry than prose.

Alex Ferrari 6:54
Yeah. Like I've read screenplays where like, the man walked into the bar, the bar was you could smell in the air. The stale cigarettes, as he walked is the floor stuck to the bottom of his shoe?

Karl Iglesias 7:06
Like that's what he was thinking about what he had for breakfast, and he

Alex Ferrari 7:09
was thinking and then and by the way, here's what he had for breakfast, he had bacon, eggs, but the eggs were running out of money,

Karl Iglesias 7:17
like in this town is like 200 pages,

Alex Ferrari 7:19
right? And that's and that's how it's written. And you like, I look, don't get me wrong. I was when I wrote my first screenplay. I was not far off from that. It was like, it's something that you have to learn it is. Because when you when you write in school, you know, when you write, even if you're writing in a creative writing it they don't teach you the economy of, of words, and to make that impact so much and, and using dashes. And there's like little tricks and techniques to kind of just move things along. And yeah, but when you read out, you'll know, by the way, right page one, you'll know page one, right? page one, you'll go know,

Karl Iglesias 7:53
yeah, most executives can tell by page one if it's going to be a good reading experience. And I'll even most readers, and I sell remember an anecdote by Jerry Bruckheimer, the famous, you know, parts producer, who's who's known to pick any script at random and open anywhere, and he reads one page. And if he's not wowed by that one page, he throws it off. The challenge, you know, and I do talk about, you know, in my book, we talked about this, when I talk about describing, and writing, it's not just page one that counts, it's not the first 10 pages that counts, not the first deck that counts. It's every single page. And the challenge you should have as a screenwriter is that you should be able to pick any script, open it anywhere, and you should be completely engrossed and engaged by that one page. And if it makes you turn the second page, and so on, and so on. That's the key. That's the that's the secret, the

Alex Ferrari 8:44
thing that I feel that screenwriters have been dealing with for years and now even more so than ever is what filmmakers are starting to deal with now in today's marketplace. So before and also in screenwriting in the early days, there wasn't a lot of competition there weren't a lot of people screenwriting that concept of you could be a screenwriter didn't come in until arguably the 70s and the 80s is when it really started to come up

Karl Iglesias 9:05
early. May correct you on that, please tell me when that goes all the way up to the 1910s when what is actually the very first

thing

photoplay these because it used to be there used to be an how to industry for screenwriters all the way back to 1910.

But how much how much repetition but how much competition? Like how many

books already printed? I guess. Everybody wanted to write screenplays right then. So it's amazing.

Yeah, I agree with you. 100%. There was some competition without question

right in the 70s. I think Syd field is the one that kind of turned it around and blew up a dream. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 9:43
yeah. Linda came out afterwards. And they really were the the catalysts of like now everybody in the technology was, you know, much more affordable and it was a big thing. So there was a lot less competition back in the days now there's a just ridiculous amount of competition for screenwriters, filmmakers. For two had less competition in the marketplace, you could if you just made a movie in the 80s it was sold. Good, bad, Toxic Avenger was sold internationally. It was it, there was less competition. So I think what we're talking about the reason I'm bringing that up is because when you're a screenwriter, now you've got to use every trick in the book to cut through all the competition and formatting and having that creative whitespace. I'm assuming you are a genius storyteller. This is beyond the storytelling. That's an assumption.

Karl Iglesias 10:32
I'll correct you on that one as well.

Surely Go for it. Tell

me tell me please. As much as much as the the there's an importance in, you know, the formatting and the description, right? Sure. Sure. Sure. Like a professional. The number one thing above and beyond anything, is the craft of storytelling. Yeah. If if you if you don't know the craft of storytelling, which I find a lot of people don't they think they do. But they don't. They could have the most perfectly formatted script and the best written description wise, but you're still not gonna have a good experience after reading that script. Right? Right. Right. Oh, it's like there's that joke about you know, that William Goldman. You know, when he was writing screenplays, he could write or Joe Esther has, he could write a script in a napkin, and it would sell for $3 million. Right? Because it's not about the napkin. It's about the the craft of storytelling. So at least for me, I mean, obviously, I'm biased because I'm all about the craft of storytelling,

right which is which is important thing, which is without question, I do not disagree with you in the least. But with that said, you know, when your job is or house when you're Shane Black when you're Tarantino when you're Aaron Sorkin, you really don't have to deal with any of the rules that we're talking about detail, because people are going to read it because of who you are. But that first, but that first script. Yeah, that very first one, you can't have misspellings. You can't have grammatical issues. You can't like, good,

you have to take first impressions count. You know, you've got to remember when I used to be a reader, that was my first my first entry level in the industry right? via a script reader for Edward James Olmos. And you know, we have all these tricks we can we look at the last the last page, we go, oh my god, it's 200 pages, we know the guy's an amateur, we look at formatting. So there's all these little things that you can do right away to kind of like already get the flags out of the way, right. So you see all these red flags to go, Okay, that's gonna be that's an amateur. And then you read the script. So you don't want that. So you're right. And those are very fixable. You want to you know, checking for typos. Make sure it's formatted correctly, and all the staff make sure it looks professional. That is, that's obviously the first step.

Alex Ferrari 12:28
It's tightening. It's tightening up the craft of just the presentation. Exactly. With the storytelling involved. And that's it. That's what you need to cut through all of this competition, because look at look at look at Bruckheimer, you're like he'll just grab I mean, how many scripts that Jerry Bruckheimer have in his office? I'm sure piles literally pile. Alright, pile pile up. So if you're lucky enough to like, if the gods are with you on the day that he picks up yours and goes, pirates we call the Caribbean?

Karl Iglesias 12:57
Yeah. What do you mean, fighter pilots?

Alex Ferrari 13:00
No, that's not gonna work. So it's so important. So I wanted it. So we I haven't even asked you the first question yet. So the first question this is gonna settle and guys, we're gonna be here for a minute. So explain to the audience what is the concept of emotional impact within screenwriting? It's something that is basically your bread and butter and your angle on the craft, which is what I get when I have reasons I'd love to have different points of view on the same problem, which is the craft of screenwriting. Right?

Karl Iglesias 13:31
Ah,

well, that's a really good question. Um, and, and it's funny because I, I don't know, if I look at it from a point of view of an angle, or a niche, even though this is really my niche, because I feel that that's a need every, every, it is the core of storytelling, right?

You need to create emotion. You need to create emotions, and you're

talking about the emotions of the characters, right? We're talking about the emotions of the audience, we talked about the emotions of the reader reading your script, right? So whether an actor read your script, he they gotta be emotionally moved by it. If a director read your script, they have to be impacted by it, a producer needs to be impacted by it. The film needs to impact an audience. It's everything and now not only in screenwriting, but in music and fashion in everything. It's all it's like life, right? Everything is an emotional impact on the reader, and it's what makes you like something or not like something, right? You go to a movie, you say I like this movie, or it's my favorite movie of all time. The reason it is is because it was it emotionally impacted you more than the movie you forgot about that you saw Netflix or whatever, right? So, so for some reason, I feel like I'm kind of surprised that, you know, everybody kind of talks about it, but not really, right. They tend to focus more on, on on structure and plot and characters and stuff. So This actually brings up an interesting point about when beginners learn the craft. And they write a script, they usually go in disorder, there's three things, right? They start with plot, they try to figure out how you know, how to develop their plot, then they think of their characters, right? They put the characters in their plot. And maybe they're thinking about theme, which is what their whole story is about, right? Whether it's trying to say with their story. And so plot character theme is like the the process that most writers as they start go through, when you're an intimate intermediary writer, right? When you know a little more, you have a little more tools and craft under your belt, you start with character, right? So you think of character, then they think about the plot, because the characters what they do and what they want, create the plot, that's smart. And maybe then they think of theme. theme is always the last thing. It's also the least thought subject, but the most important, and people don't think about this. So theme is something that I've really kind of like dug deep the last, you know, five or six years, because it's the most important thing in terms of its its what it's at what starts at all, in a sense is what do you want to say with your story? Now, I remember one of my favorite writers, Rod Serling with the Twilight Zone, you know, of course, the genius screenwriter. And he said, A overall theme. So his process was theme number one, leads to character, which leads to plot. So the process and that's the process of most professional writers, right, who write great stories is theme character plot in that order, not plot character, and maybe theme, right. So for me, when I see when I read scripts, when I consult or teach, and, you know, you may have a good plot, you may have some good characters, but a lot of the times we have a breakdown in theme. In other words, they may some maybe realize that they're trying to say something with their script, but it's not what I call successfully argued through the script, there's no thematic argument to the script. And so it doesn't work. This doesn't work. Even though you may have great characters, great dialogue, maybe a good plot, some twist surprises. Okay, that may work. But there's something missing. And to me theme is what takes a script from good to great. So it's like, to me is the most important thing. It starts with theme, which gives you characters which gives you plot, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Alex Ferrari 17:30
Can you give us an example of a movie that really started with theme, character and plot? Do you have any ideas?

Karl Iglesias 17:37
Well, I don't know. Now, most great movies. I don't know how they started.

Yeah, you're right. Yeah, I

don't know. I can probably talk about the Little Miss Sunshine. Because there is a there is a clip of Michael Arndt the writer who's at a bookstore, and he talks he answered a an audience question. And he talked about how he came up with the idea for Little Miss Sunshine. And for him, it started with theme. And the the way he started with him is because he had heard a quote, I had heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger talk about whatever at an interview, and Arnold Schwarzenegger said, the thing that I despise most is losers. I don't like losers, right. So life is about winners and losers. And he thought that was such a despicable thing to say. And beings that he had this idea formula, Miss Sanchez, now let me sunshine. So he started with theme, because every single thing a Little Miss Sunshine is on point with theme. And I was this is one of the best. And that's the reason why such a simple movie is so loved because it was so thematically rich, it was on point, everything fits together. The characters, the way the characters want their emotions, their arcs, the dialogue, the plot, everything is in service of that theme. Right? Which is, what's the best way to live? Like, is winning a sign of success? Or is it just you know, being a human being and loving your family and just enjoying it? Right? So the the grandfather in that movie who says, you know, it's not about winning, it's about trying and enjoying what you're doing right? As we think about every scene in the movie fits that right especially the last one. Yeah, exactly. And even even simple scenes, like the diner scene where they're at with their desk, ice cream. It's such a simple scene, but it's like everything about that about the theme of winning and losing and it's everything with the Father says which is all about being a winner, and everybody around him is rolling their eyes. Oh, come on and trying. You know. So when you think about it, a story is really an argument between two sides. Right? And you're trying to tell the audience which side is the best way to live, that's what theme does. You know, it's a how to manual for life when you think about it,

Alex Ferrari 19:48
right? Exactly. There was a last year's best picture winner Green Book. You know, I remember watching you know, I had a had a screener for it. And my wife and I were white and we started it late. We started leaving Even though like oh, we'll watch a little while and then we'll go and it we we wouldn't turn it off until I hit like midnight and we were like we got to keep watching this and and the

Karl Iglesias 20:09
emotional impact for you moved you engaged you you wanted to see the end of it there was it was exactly right. That you're good,

Alex Ferrari 20:19
right and the thing that I found so amazing about that movie which it's not a movie that I'm gonna watch 1000 times it's just not one of those films like Star Wars is one of those films or you know, you know, for me Shawshank Redemption is great and radically, exactly, it's Shawshank Redemption, which is everybody in the show knows my love for that film. But there's there's some that I'll watch 1000 times, but that movie, The theme of it and it was just two guys in a car essentially, the entire movie was two guys in a car. You know, for the most part, it was just like the banter between these amazing actors that dialogue was remarkable right in and you're just sitting there I said why was the

Karl Iglesias 20:54
movie about for you? Like you say what was the movie about?

It's about friendship, it's about friendship. It's about friendship. It's about it's about the Battle of of societal norms

friendship overcoming racism,

yeah. Friendship overcoming societal

issues that the driver takes right right

Alex Ferrari 21:12
societal norms and then on both sides on both sides because he was a he was an elitist the the I forgot his name is his he won the Best Actor I forgot there's a beagle Borges and and the other guy. The other guy was an elitist because he was a very well educated man and Vigo was in

Karl Iglesias 21:29
the streets, and alone and disconnected

Alex Ferrari 21:32
completely. While this guy was ignorant. A street thug had a heart of goal. Exactly. And he had a moral compass. Yeah. And as rough as it was just but it was so simple. It was like a good meal. And a well

Karl Iglesias 21:49
executed Amelie. Right? That's not my kind of Maxim's that I always tell students and clients, which is like, always aim for a simple story with complex characters, not the other way around. Right? A lot of people think of complex stories with twists and surprises on stuff. And then they come up with simple characters, which is not good. Right? So think Simple Stories, complex characters, without question, man.

Alex Ferrari 22:11
Now, what are what are some key elements that you need for a very impactful scene, which are the scenes are the building blocks of our of our story in this in this platform?

Karl Iglesias 22:23
Well, that's another that's a big topic. So scenes is something that I find that a lot of writers don't know how to do, even though they think they do, right. So they think of, you know, they think of a scene with two people talking. And what they mostly do is basically, it's just exposition, right? They're talking about what they need to the audience needs to know for to advance the the story. And so you have two people, basically, most of their dialogue is exposition. So the first thing that I tell people about screenwriting is look at it as a mini story, right? So if you think of a story, you think about three acts, right? You think of a beginning, middle and end, you think of a character who wants something, right? You think of conflict, what's standing in their way? And what do they do about it? Right? That's your whole script? Well think about the same thing in a scene. In a good scene, you have a character who wants something, is having difficulty getting it, right. And you watch how they get how they go about getting it. And sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't. And then you move on to the next scene. Right. So that's why I call dramatic scenes so dramatic, not in the sense of, you know, melodramatic, like, you know, steric people yelling at each other, I'm talking about dramatic in the true sense of the meaning of drama, which is a character not getting what they want. That is the essence of

Unknown Speaker 23:38
drama. And then it's also

Karl Iglesias 23:40
on something and not getting it,

Alex Ferrari 23:42
right. And if you do see, if you if you're able to construct scenes like that, you keep the audience engaged the entire

Karl Iglesias 23:48
time that creates tension, they wonder if they're going to get it or not, right. And especially if you have stakes, which is another part of the equation, right? high stakes, low stakes, it's got to be important for the character to get in the scene. So if we don't care, we're not going to care. Right? So it's got its kind of, you got to have high stakes in the scene, right? A strong reason for a character wanting something and a desperation for them to get it. And then we you have tension. And to me tension is this kind of interplay between, you know, US worrying that they're not going to get it or something bad's going to happen, and hope that things are going to work out for that character.

Alex Ferrari 24:28
So a scene like in a Hitchcock movie, Hitchcock is the bomb underneath a desk about the bomb under the coffee table. That whole concept of you know, we're because that that scene to me and there's a lot of Hitchcock, Hitchcock. Arguably he was very there were characters and some of his best movies were character driven like psycho North by Northwest. Some of his other ones were much more structural and plot

Karl Iglesias 24:54
but he was the master of suspense. He right well cared about the Bible suspense. That's cared about great tension, he really cared about leading the audience's emotions. Right? Right. Right. And he even said, that is actually a great anecdote that was shared by Ernest Lehman, who wrote North by Northwest. And he said that you remember when it used to be on set in between takes. And Hitchcock said, you know, it's amazing how how the movies, you know, we do this, and the audience feels this, and then we do this, and the audience feels that it's almost like we're playing an organ at a church and and each key is a specific emotion. And, and, and, ah, gotcha, yeah, pretty, pretty soon we will need, we will need that we will need the movies anymore, we'll just kind of like put him to electrodes or something like that, and, you know, play play all the different keys, but he was a master at that. And that example, about the bum on the table was really, to explain the difference between surprise and dramatic irony. So there might guarantee is also known as reader superior position, or audience superior position, which is putting the audience in a superior position than the characters that they

Alex Ferrari 26:07
know something that nobody

Karl Iglesias 26:08
know that the characters you know, something the characters don't know. So his his take, which he was right about is that you could have two characters talking in a scene at a restaurant talking about the weather, right? And suddenly, the bomb goes off, because it was a bomber. But we didn't know this, right? So you have five seconds of shock and surprise, okay. Another way of doing that scene is to actually have the two people talking in the scene and then put the camera down. So you see the bomb ticking, and it's got 15 minutes to go. And then you go back again to there to the people talking about the weather. Now you have 15 minutes of tension and suspense. So he said you're fit 15 minutes of suspense is a lot better than five seconds of surprise and shock. Yeah, right. All right, so. So audience superior position is probably one of the most often used techniques very effective for creating that engagement and creating the suspense and that tension.

Alex Ferrari 27:01
And then the concepts that you were just talking about before work away, our character in the scene needs to get something and something stopping them in that conversation at that table. It could be all of that. But then you add into the mix. There's a bomb underneath the table. Right? Right. And but the Hitchcock said, One very important thing that you left out that you cannot, once the audience knows the bomb is there, you cannot blow the table up, you can't blow the place up. Because they will be very upset with you, if you kill them, and they didn't know about it. Okay, but if you let them in on it, and you torture them for 15 minutes, and you still kill them, they'll never forgive you.

Karl Iglesias 27:36
I know. Exactly right. All right. Yeah. So

Alex Ferrari 27:40
So now you also have gone deep into Pixar. And the magic of what Pixar is able been able to do

Karl Iglesias 27:45
because they're the master storytellers. I mean, they are this my favorite stories of all time are Pixar. I'm a big fan of Pixar. I study their techniques and they all fit with what I'm talking so

Alex Ferrari 27:57
it's so it's so fun. It's so fascinating their process with the creative like kind of roundtable they're the mind the mind. What is it? Oh, the brain trust your interest? Yeah. So the brain trust me, they have like, you know, seven amazing storytellers that like literally rip apart stories and they put it together. And Pixar, you know, they haven't hit it out of the park every time they have a hell of a good batting average. But they have it you know, there's cars too. But, but, but there's also you know, up, you know, they're, you know, and there's so many amazing stories, and they, they let's say there's like an eight out of 10, nine out of 10 from Pixar

Karl Iglesias 28:32
without question, they still know how to tell a good story.

Alex Ferrari 28:34
They still don't know how to tell a good story. What, um, what do they do? What is it about them that that makes them able to pull those emotions because like, I just watched Toy Story for and I'm with my daughter and I was just like at the like, I mean, Pixar. I'm a grown ass man. And I'm like crying at a

Karl Iglesias 28:56
cartoon. If they do make you cry. I

Alex Ferrari 28:58
mean, three Toy Story to that song in Toy Story, Julie.

Karl Iglesias 29:05
emo ya know,

Alex Ferrari 29:07
you you listen to that sad song that What's her name? The cow, the cow girl song. Yeah, yeah, that's the sad song about the toy. It's a three minutes and you're just like, Oh, yeah. What are the first four the first five minutes of the most? The most amazing way to tell a story of an entire life's love you just like,

Karl Iglesias 29:30
Oh, yeah, exactly how they do Oh, they're so they're very good at that. But again, you gotta you gotta understand, too. It's not just about that, right? I mean, they don't they don't take you to the movie and then show you just a sad scene. Oh, Ryan, you go home. That's right. No, no, that's a whole fleet experience. So that's the good thing about about, about Pixar is that because they're they write, they write for everybody. They write for kids, they write for adults, right every they got the four demographics right there. work we call it right young old men, women. But they tell what I what I call a complete story, right? A complete story is gap characters we care about. A good story, right? A thematic argument, right? So all of them are about something important. Character transformation. This got some funny scenes, it's got some sad scenes, it's got some tense scenes, right? It runs the gamut of emotion. So, you know, I talk about emotional impact. But a lot of people think when I'm talking about the character emotions, it's not a character emotion. It's about the audience emotion. So when you think about the emotions you like to go and pay money for, you go to the theater, or watch TV, or watch Netflix, to feel these emotions. So the emotions that you want to feel is laughter right? If you want to watch a comedy, you want to feel romance, you want to feel love, you want to feel connection between human beings, you want to feel anticipation, you want to feel hope, you want to feel curiosity, you want to feel surprise, you want to feel tension, we like tension, because this engages us, right? It creates, it keeps our brain locked in, right? So all these emotions is what I'm talking about in the book, and in my classes about how do you do that? How do you create curiosity? How do you create anticipation? How do you create suspense? Right? There's actually techniques, which is what the craft is about, right? So you can teach the techniques I can teach people what to write, I can't tell you what ideas to write or what story to write, or what characters to write. But I can tell you when something does not work, if I read a script, and I'm not engaged by it, I'm bored with it, I don't care. I want to tell you why I don't care. And I'm going to show you how to fix that. Because that's what I focus on. That's my specialty in terms of like the actual emotions of the reader and of the audience. they they they have, I mean,

Alex Ferrari 31:45
obviously, they have amazing batting average and the stories that Nick continues to tell again and again, you just sit there. Yeah. How do you do and it is one good thing about them. If 71 listening is writing stories for kids, you gotta throw those inside jokes for the adults because that's what's that's what's gonna make it better. It goes away from that there's a difference between Saturday morning I know an agent dating myself a Saturday morning cartoons, right, which are dedicated directly to kids, and then a Pixar movie, which an adult would watch again and again and again and again.

Karl Iglesias 32:20
All right, like local cartoons like my favorite cartoons, London cartoons was the Roadrunner cartoons right with Wally Wally God, favorite character. And those I mean, adults enjoyed those

out, you know, but that was there's some conflict. Okay, so let's Okay, let's break this down. And you brought this up, let's break down the road runner, and Wile E. Coyote, and why they endure to this day. And they also there's no language, so every every language in the world can get it. Every every culture in the world pretty much got everything in it. So it's about it. And we've talked about simplicity. So let's, let's let's break it down.

Okay, well, you got a character, right? Who wants something, and it wants something desperately. And what does he do about it? He's the most creative person in the world because he comes up with all these different ways. And we appreciate that we go Oh, that's very clever, right? And then we hope because he's been doing it because believe it or not, we care about wily coyote, right? We also care about the bird but the bird just keeps running away, right? And Bernie's actually smarter than most, there's no me. There's no, I would argue this route for Coyote.

Alex Ferrari 33:31
There's no emotional connection to the Road Runner. There's an emotional connection to the plight, the plight of the kayak,

Karl Iglesias 33:37
right, because we understand, right, and, and the thing with wily coyote is that it's the epitome of perseverance, epitome of perseverance, and we all that's the thematic argument, right? In all those cartoons, they talk about perseverance, how to be how to persevere, how to keep going, how to come up with new ideas, even if you fail, it's not about failing. It's about failing, and getting up and try again, a different way. And that is a life lesson. If I didn't hear what you know, that's what we love so much else. It's funny, you know, and it's how we want to see how the coyote just keeps failing all the time.

Alex Ferrari 34:13
And I've only seen a couple of I remember he only caught the Road Runner, like two or three, four times I think in the

Karl Iglesias 34:18
club. I got this reminds me there's actually a clip online. He could he could Google it. I think it was a I don't know if it was Seth MacFarlane or something. So like the Family Guy guy. Yeah. And he did a small cartoon of what happened the day that wily coyote actually killed the Roadrunner and his life afterwards. It was so fun. It's only four minutes long. And it's hilarious because it's like you get this guy the coyote is like so depressed because he has nothing to look forward to and he's drinking and he's like it's not yes no goals.

Alex Ferrari 34:51
And and it I know we're laughing but that is actually what happens in our business all the time. You see these people who win Oscars or Have a $200 million, big huge movie. And once they get to that success

Karl Iglesias 35:05
up, there's nothing else up. There's

Alex Ferrari 35:06
like they crash and their entire world comes crashing down around them. People who win the lottery, you see that happen all the time. But I am a good look up. By the way, this

Karl Iglesias 35:17
is one thing you have to understand about stories is that there's a reason why we love stories. There's a reason why stories are shaped the way they are in terms of characters with goals and transformation. Because it is we evolved with stories and stories kind of teach us how to live, right. So this, like we talked about the Road Runner, that's a lesson in perseverance and not giving up, right, that's something that they teach us in life, as well. So it matches. And so when I when I talk to writers about storytelling, and themes, specifically, because the theme addresses that is, you've got to make sure that what your story addresses is life. You know, like all the problems with life. So in terms of like perseverance or love, right, I mean, there's a reason why love stories are the most popular and Roman romances. You know, relationship stories?

Alex Ferrari 36:09
Yeah, no, of course, of course. And it was just it was those stories that kept us alive, because the you would tell the story about the tiger at the end of the river that killed the boy and all of a sudden that story would go like there was a tiger that killed by the river. And that story kept going and kept the tribe safe. Exactly. And in those stories

Karl Iglesias 36:26
around a survival mechanism is what made us evolve and survive up to know, right, for a long time. Yeah, there's never been, there's never been a culture without stories. Like every culture, in an entire civilization, from the very beginning has had stories from the moment we're able to communicate with each other. We've had stories. And I think it's also just another way for us to share our life experience.

Alex Ferrari 36:48
So we can feel that we're going through it with somebody.

Unknown Speaker 36:51
Exactly, exactly.

Karl Iglesias 36:54
bring up another very interesting point. Have you heard of mirror neurons? Yeah, I've heard of that. So the whole The reason we so connect to movies and to, you know, it's all about this, this concept of mirror neurons, which is we have we have neurons in our brain that that when we watch something, the brain thinks that we are doing it. And so when we, when we see a character doing something on screen, your brain is thinking the same thing that you're doing on screen. And so that's there's that connection, right? So you see things that look like life, and you see characters doing things and transforming, right? That, in a subtle way teaches you how to do it in a subtle way.

Alex Ferrari 37:33
Is that why the Joker has gotten such a visceral reaction from the public because there's a lot of people who walk out I was in the theater when I was watching and there was people walking out.

Karl Iglesias 37:44
You haven't seen it yet. Which

Alex Ferrari 37:46
I won't I won't ruin it for you. But it is you you understand that

Karl Iglesias 37:51
is really good.

Alex Ferrari 37:52
I loved it. I thought it was I thought it was a masterpiece. I think I think Joaquin Phoenix will win the Oscar. I mean, if he doesn't it's a it's an absolute travesty if he doesn't win the Oscar. But But I was fascinated. I walked in with, you know, to get me to go to the movie theaters nowadays with a family I think it's rough to get me and my wife to go and spend the money on a baby like it was it? Like, you know, you know, you know, it's really hit the mainstream when my wife turned to me and goes, have you heard about what's going on with the joker? And I'm like, how do you know about this, like, it's everywhere, we gotta go see this movie. So but it was fascinating to watch a character and same thing happened to taxi driver. That's why a taxi driver is because it was obviously the Joker his taxi driver pretty much in many ways. The taxi driver rubs people the wrong way, because you're going on a journey with Travis Brickell. And you were feeling what it's like to be insane, essentially, right. And not the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and said which was fun, like this kind of insane and I think that's why I think I mean, this really people are reacting. So interestingly to Joker, just an interesting thing in today's world

Karl Iglesias 38:59
war two seeing it when I when I have a minute. Yeah, it is definitely my number one movie on my list to see. Yeah, but man, those mirror neurons is something very, very, very powerful. If you feel for what the characters going through, exactly right. It's the whole the whole thing of empathy, right? It's like, and that's the thing, whenever, no matter what if the character is, is good or evil, or immoral, or moral or a good person, a bad person, the fact that you know, he's the main character. And there's also absolutely techniques and, and tricks to make you connect with to make you care, right. So it's important to make you care because you can care about a character you can not care about a character. If you don't care about a character doesn't matter what they do, your script is done. So you got to learn how to care about the character. And so I bet you even even though haven't seen the movie yet, I bet you that that the filmmakers take the time to make you care about Joaquin Phoenix's character before you see him do what he does, right which I'm assuming is a negative You kind of root for root for him, right? Because you care.

Alex Ferrari 40:03
But and that's where I think the problem lies was that you're rooting for a crazy man you're rooting for a murderer and it's like look like Santa. At least with Silence of the Lambs. We love. I love Hannibal Lecter like Hannibal Lecter is such a charming. He's a cannibal. He eats people. But yeah, but that we have, but we had Jodie Foster as the but then later in the other movies like Hannibal and things like that he became

Karl Iglesias 40:26
the main character. Here's the thing, though. They may he may eat people right, but they were only eats the people that Well, maybe not that he did that deserve it right, the way the film ends, you know, we feel this point of justice, okay, eating out to children at the end. And it's the same with shows like Dexter, for example, right? Like Dexter is a serial killer, but it kills the wrong people. He kills the people who deserve it. And so that makes us feel good. And dilettante.

Alex Ferrari 40:51
And that's and that's the thing, that you're exactly right. Like anytime that, you know, the quickest way for you to hate somebody on a screen. It's one of those old tricks like kick have the villain, kick the dog, like,

Karl Iglesias 41:02
kill the dog? Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 41:03
you kill the dog, he'll eat the dog, whatever you want to do.

Karl Iglesias 41:06
Stephen King once say that of all the the hate letters he got was when he actually killed the dog in one of his novels like he could do. You could kill people in the most amazing ways. But if he kills the dog, he's gonna get the hate crowd.

Alex Ferrari 41:20
Right. And that's like, the easiest way. It's the easiest way for you to hate somebody right away. So

Karl Iglesias 41:25
have them hurt an animal, hurt a kid. And that's not really the end. It's not the only thing. There's a whole bundle of stuff. There's when I read scripts for clients, and I say, and I'm very aware of what connects us and what disconnects us. So there's gonna be times in this in the script where I go, okay, you know, this what he did? Or said, there is a disconnect, or it disconnects us. So do you want to keep it there? Is there a reason why you want it? Or is it accidental? Because a lot of times, the writers don't know what they're doing, right? They're just writing the script. And they don't realize that they just disconnected the audience from the character. And they don't know why they don't know why the scenes not working, didn't know why the script not working. And I could tell them, well, you just disconnected us here. It was intentional, but that we don't know, don't care about the character. So everything that happens after that we don't care about the character, you're done.

Alex Ferrari 42:11
So what are some of those elements and techniques that help you create a character that you have strong emotional ties to? Because that is also agreed? I mean, I watched I was watching a show the other day, and it was just like, like, I just like, the plot was, the plot was, plot was good. But like, if I get up and go to the bathroom, and I tell my wife just keep playing it, it's fine. You don't have to pause it. I'm, I'm disconnected. Right? But then you watch other shows or you watch other movies and just like,

Karl Iglesias 42:37
think about the classics, right? Think about the classic sitcoms, right? Like friends or you know, the Seinfeld office or Seinfeld, right? They're classics or Cheers. I mean, because you care about the characters, right? It's like you one you don't care even even if the jokes are not funny, or you know, I mean they are but if even if they weren't, you would still want to be with those characters. You just want to be in the same room with them. And that's why you keep tuning in Week after week after week, you know,

Alex Ferrari 43:03
so what are some of those elements that create those that emotional tie?

Karl Iglesias 43:06
Well, there's I mean, there's a whole bunch of them right I have a whole chapters in my book but um, but in terms of connecting emotionally right so there's these three things that I talked about and you can see that very well with Pixar as well. So when I teach my classes on that I show the the Pixar clips and show you how it's done and then show you the people that don't do it right. So there's so there's an element of what I call pity humanity and admiration, right so there's if you don't create pity in the character, meaning we care about something that happens to them right so something happens and it could be any character you mean any character you don't know anything about them. And if something happens to them that is that makes you feel sorry for them. Like let's say they're they're bullied by someone or they just got robbed or they're they lost their wife or they just lost their dog or whatever it is anything that makes us empathize and we feel sorry there's hundreds of those right? So empathy and pity is one of them right? You cannot you because of the way we're built as humans we cannot not care if you feel pity for someone and it could be a violent as well. That's what they do with Annabelle Lecter. Right the fact that Dr. Killed children abuses As Americans, we feel we feel sorry for him even though he's Adam is a cannibal, right? So So pity is one of them. Humanity is very important and that basically is show the character the characters humanity in a sense, make them make them care about something other than themselves. So if a character was not selfish, so a character cares about something whether it they care for a dog, they care for a pet they care for a plant. They do this in the Leon Do

Unknown Speaker 44:44
you read my mind?

Karl Iglesias 44:47
That's the killer, right? He's a hitman. But we care for him because we go home. He drinks milk, and he takes care for his pint. We know Oh, he's a good guy. You know, he

Alex Ferrari 44:56
just happens to kill bad guys.

Karl Iglesias 44:58
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, so that's one of them. So show you man any show that you care about something, a cause, you know, you have a friend you care for you care for your parent to sick. I mean all this stuff, right? You talk somebody in bed, you bring him soup, there's there's 1000s of those. So humanity is a second one. And then the third one is the one that most people know about is admiration. Meaning that you give the character traits that we all admire in a human being. So think about like in your dating days, you had a list of the admiral admirable traits, admirable traits you wanted in your mate, because that's what most people admire. So somebody who's beautiful or handsome, somebody who's smart, somebody who's funny, somebody who's the best at what they do, right? So the best cop, the best agent, the best soldier, the best, whatever, right? Best surgeon. And it's, there's a whole bunch of stuff, somebody who's courageous as opposed to

Alex Ferrari 45:49
Indiana, like Indiana Jones, break the list

Karl Iglesias 45:52
the list of positive traits that are admirable in a person. So when you combine those, those three, and it's funny, because talking about Pixar, again, I showed the clip and Wally where we, when we meet in the beginning we meet while the end, he's doing the garbage thing. But there's the same way he finally goes to his house to his little home. And it's only a three minute, a three minute scene. But in those three minutes, you get about 20 plus little tips of all the stuff that I talked about, right? And those 20 things are kind of like designed to make us care about the character and he's a robot. he's a he's a garbage cleaner, right? But yet, you see you feel sorry for him. You see as humanity you see that he cares about things. They're showing us how human he is. Right? And there's a lot of admirable traits in there but although things of how he keeps his house and he collects things, and he likes romantic movies and and he thinks to himself, and there's all these little things that just add up those are called the little touches, character touches. And that's what you want in you know, in all your characters.

Alex Ferrari 46:52
Yeah, it's Yeah, I was thinking about that movie like there's no dialogue there's barely any dialogue and

Karl Iglesias 46:58
that yeah, it's my like my my my top five favorite movies of all time that was up and Finding Nemo. The Incredibles Toy Story, Toy Story, two Toy Story, three story 404 of them. It's amazing.

Alex Ferrari 47:11
All four of them are actually really good. They always hit it out of the park with the Toy Story without question. Now, there's another thing that I think a lot of screenwriters have a problem with is the dreaded dialogue and being able to write realistic and sharp dialogue and and and so one on one any any help you can give us to help dialogue in the world will be for but also the talk on the nose dialogue, which I when I wrote my first few screenplays It was horrible. It was I was just I would get that note back constantly be like, dialogues on the nose. And I'm like, What is this on the nose mean? Like, I don't understand. I didn't even I was so ignorant to the process. I don't even know what under. So please explain on the nose dialogue and then how to avoid on the nose. All right.

Karl Iglesias 47:59
Well, I'll take your first question, because I had a funny remark for that when you said how do I how do we become good dialogue writers? And I was gonna say well, there's a there's a very simple process, but it might it might require a little bit of surgery, which is go and take Aaron Sorkin's brain and put it inside your skull, and then you'll be it though.

Alex Ferrari 48:18
Or Tarantino Exactly.

Karl Iglesias 48:21
So, but all joking aside, the craft of dialogue is probably the most important thing. I'm not I mean, I've been theme and scenes and craft of it, whatever. Right? So I like this analogy that Ernest Hemingway shared with writers where he said that a great story is architecture, not interior design. Right? So architecture of a story is the structure. The theme, the plot, the characters is the foundation of a good story, right? So it's a solid story. Dialogue is interior design. Right? So it's like, it's all the little color of your walls and your posters. And I'm looking at your room, right? There's this very specific interior design going on. Right? That would be so you could have a solid house that that is standing on its own. But if the room has no good interior design, it's still gonna look kind of yucky, right? You're not gonna have a good feeling about it. Right? If your room was empty. So so that's what dialogue is, you could have a really good script, but with terrible dialogue, it's still not gonna create that emotional impact you want in the reader, right? And by the way, it doesn't mean you're not going to sell your script, it just means they're going to hire a script rewriter to do the script. As a matter of fact, I don't know if you know this, but in Hollywood dialogue, writers are hired at six figures for a couple of weeks work just to punch up the dialogue, because that's how important it is. Right?

Alex Ferrari 49:42
So can I stop you for a second because I want I want to make this really clear for people because it's a wonderful analogy. If you have the most beautiful home designed mansion, but the interior design is tacky and bad. The value of the entire house goes down. Yes. It's that simple and I think it's a great great analogy for screenwriting. I've never heard that before. I think it's so so important because it is the house is the foundation with the theme, the structure, the characters, but that dialogue is the painting What color is the paint? It is it is it is a neon green paint.

Karl Iglesias 50:18
You know, I mentioned that every single time with clients and students because when I give feedback and something is not working at the foundation level, right? That's okay. You know, thematically Oh character's story, something's not working. And they come back to me and say, oh, but what about that little scene with this character says this, and that is the next line. And I'm going Yes, it is. But I don't care. I just don't care. You're talking about your house is crumbling. And you're talking about what poster to put in your wall? I mean, come on. Right. That's exactly it. So that's a great analogy. I love that analogy. Thank you. No, thank you, Ernest Hemingway. But, but that's, that's the thing. And so writers sometimes do not understand that the foundation has to be solid before they think about the interior design. So but dialogue is one of this, the interior design and and on the nose dialogue to come back to your question is probably one of the biggest challenges with writers because there's, there's different levels of dialogue, right? So there's dialogue. And I break it down into these four categories in my book, which is emotional impact, which is the lines that that make you smile that make you laugh, witty line sarcasm, all the sudden, they create an instant reaction, right? So they they like, Ooh, that was a great line, right? That's an emotional impact. Then you have character, which is character voice, which is what the what the the character says. And the way they say it reveals their personality reveals their opinions, their their traits, etc, etc. So those are character, the so called individuality for dialogue. The third one is exposition. And unfortunately, most writers tend to focus on exposition. And that's where you get the on the nose. claim, right? feedback, because exposition is character saying information that you feel the audience needs to know, to figure out what's going on in the scene or in the story. Unfortunately, that's all they do, right. So all another feedback you get with dialogues, and all the dialogue sounds the same, all the characters sound the same, because it's really just your voice. And all you care about is giving exposition, you don't care about character, you don't care about emotional impact. The opposite of on the nose is subtext. And that's the fourth category. And that's probably the hardest thing to master. It's usually where you get to the professional level. And you're a master of dialogue, that's when you get subtext. And that and that's when the dot the line of dialogue kind of implies things you don't stay at it on the nose on the nose means you're stating exactly what the character is thinking, and what he's feeling. Right. So I'll give you an example. From top of my head, if you're a friend of yours, you know, who you don't really like, comes to visit you write. And and and you say, Oh, it's you write in effort, right? We we understand that subtext for I don't like you, right?

Alex Ferrari 53:11
But if it says, Oh, it's you, it's all about performance.

Karl Iglesias 53:14
But now, so that would be right. So that would be like the subtext right over to you, you know what he's thinking, you know, what he's feeling without saying it now and begin, a writer who's going to write on the nose dialogue would be, oh, I'm really unhappy to see you right now. Right, that's, you're stating exactly what he's feeling that's on the nose dialogue. So you may be not happy right now. Or I'm so happy to

Alex Ferrari 53:38
see you that's on the nose. So So you mean basically the room basically, time it was the room is basically the entire movie is on the on the nose dialogue, which makes it so beautiful and wonderful of that movie. I absolutely love my fight so bad that it's good. It's one of my favorite movies of all time purely because it's so bad. And when you said that, I'm like, wait a minute, that sounds familiar. That's like, Oh, hi, Tommy, I just walked in the door. Thank you. How was your day, it is here on the nose dialog. Also another thing and if I'm, if I may dissect the room here for a second when you're writing a scene, and I think writers should understand this is that you really need to pick the most important and interesting part of the scene. So what a perfect scene is is wonderful scene in in the room is the scene that they go into a cafe. And the scene starts with two people we've never seen before in our life ordering. I'm gonna have a coffee I'm gonna have this great and two other people should go right behind them in line. Order. We don't know who these people are. The third people are our characters, and they order Ah, so you sat there for a minute and a half watching someone else order for no reason. And that's the most interesting part we would have should have picked it up at our characters or happened

Karl Iglesias 54:58
on scene. Like, what do you cut a lot, because a lot of our brains just wants to set up the scene. Right? So the examples I usually give is like if you're going to show an interview scene, right? Somebody had a job interview, you're not going to show the guy driving there even like even before getting ready for his interview, driving, finding parking, getting up on the elevator, checking in with the receptionist, you know, waiting reading a magazine until he's called to the interview, you're going to cut right at the interview. Right? So that's, that's a, that's what it's about. Yeah, it's

Alex Ferrari 55:29
it's Yeah. And that seems specifically you might even have to have them ordering the coffee, they should just maybe just be sitting down at the coffee shop. Unless the ordering really is moving the story along. That's fat. That could be.

Karl Iglesias 55:41
Yeah, so actually, one of the first questions you should ask yourself with with screenwriting is what's, what's the point of that scene? What's the purpose of that scene? Right.

Alex Ferrari 55:50
Do you have any? Do you have any tips on how to create good subtext in dialogue?

Karl Iglesias 55:55
Ah, I do because I show a whole bunch of techniques as well in, in the book on subtext. I mean, there's, there's a whole bunch of them, I mean, the ones that come to mind is implying things. Right, or even not even saying a line, like think about how if the character can actually do something that implies something, as opposed to so it's all about implying things right subtext means the meaning behind the text. Right? So going back to our examples, your friend, if you say, Oh, it's you, right? Oh, it's you doesn't say anything. But we know in the context, if we know the way you said, or we know before that you hate the guy, right? We know that Oh, two means I hate you. And I'm not happy to see you. Right, right. Now an example of subtext so blank line,

Alex Ferrari 56:39
it says something

Karl Iglesias 56:41
physicalized in the line sometimes,

Alex Ferrari 56:42
so. So like something like if a woman, a woman, or a wife knows that her husband's cheating on him, and she hasn't told him yet. And he walks in, and he's like, Hi, honey, and she's washing the dishes. And she, she's like, Oh, I'm doing Oh, right. And the way she's washing the dishes, says everything about what that seems about physical

Karl Iglesias 57:02
icing, and then and then

Alex Ferrari 57:04
he's starting to pick up on it. And then it's like, and then but but no one's saying, You cheated on me why, but it's all done within. It's all done within the scene. Right? That's subtext basically.

Karl Iglesias 57:15
Exactly. Yeah. And there's a whole bunch of other style. There's,

Alex Ferrari 57:18
there's many ways, but subtext is an art form, though. That's

Karl Iglesias 57:21
it, it is it is an way in the craft as well, you know, his, like little budget techniques and give you examples of it shows you that there is a technique. So you can you can definitely apply that.

Alex Ferrari 57:33
So yeah, I mean, your script. Dr. Locke, you also you also consult a lot with screenwriters. What is the biggest thing you see like what what do you come in to fix the most? Like, what is the thing that you're like, the house that the house you come into, to to analyze the structure of the house? And the interior design? And what is the thing that you see like, man, if people could just get this right? It would be so much better?

Karl Iglesias 57:57
It depends, I there's so many so many different things. It depends on the student and I also teach at UCLA. So it's kind of like depends on on where the students level. So like I said, Sometimes a student can, or a client can write great characters and great dialogue, but the scenes are not working, or the story's not working a lot of the times its theme. That's the reason why I feel, you know, one of the things that I've come to realize is how important stories are for us humans and why that is and that's really theme. So if you really know how to write to theme, right? Because everything connects to it like the the the the characters in the character arc connects to theme, the dialogue will connect with him if you have a good thematic argument. And then of course, the plot so so that's the thing. And if theme is a foundational issue, remember Rod Serling say it's where it starts. So you have to know theme, you have to know what you're trying to say. Right? And then figuring out your character who's going to convey that and the plot and, you know, the ending of it. And then you had one up would be the answer.

Alex Ferrari 59:01
Okay, so do you also, you also wrote a book called 101 habits of highly successful right, as far as your very first book, what are some top habits that screenwriters should do to be a good screener? And I'm going to say what the first one will probably be just right. But yeah, what some other ones? That's basically it, that's just just right, just right,

Karl Iglesias 59:23
there's that there's 101 habits in there. And all the big big time writers talk about what they do in all those specific habits. So there's a lot to read. Um, but But yeah, pretty much it comes down to ask to the chair, right, like putting your butt on the chair and dedicating the time. So a good tip is to schedule the time you know, like, you know, when you have your calendar and you schedule your dentist appointment, you don't miss that. Right. So you you you show up for that right? So a good tip, a good technique is to actually put in writing time in your calendar with this with a start date, start time and an end time. So that you get those notifications on the Mac that says, you know, your meeting starts in 30 minutes, you know, and, and and so if you actually write down your writing sessions, at least you'll show up and hopefully dedicate yourself to writing. So that's a that's a habit right there.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:14
Well, how about for screenwriters who I've heard this 1000 times? I only write when I'm inspired. It's when I, when I get the inspiration. And these are the, these are the same guys who have the screenplay they've been working on for seven years, but the one screenplay, not the 20, the one screenplay, and every time you talk to me, like, how's that screenplay going? Almost there? Yeah, Almost. Almost just just a little bit, almost there. So

Karl Iglesias 1:00:39
the answer and this is actually came from actually who said that to me. I forget now, but one of the writers in the one one habits book, who said, you know, does a plumber have plumbers block? He has to go and he has to fix what he needs to fix. He shows up on time. That's his job, right? He doesn't have you don't go to your office job and say, I don't feel like it today. Right? You go, you do it, because there's a lot at stake. That's that's the problem with writers, they don't have a lot at stake, right? I mean, cuz nobody's forcing you to write, right? There's no deadline, there's no put somebody is not putting a gun on your head. So that's another another tip for you guys, is to make sure you give yourself stakes, like give yourself deadlines. Get yourself. Like one great trick is to tell people that you're going to write right that you're going to finish your script in by let's say, three months from now, right? So in February 1, right? You're gonna and you tell people, you're gonna, I'm gonna finish my script February 1. And if I don't finish my script by February 1, I'm gonna have to donate $1,000. Right? To the NRA, or to the Trump campaign, or to

Alex Ferrari 1:01:57
you know, not Yeah, not not, not not Nazi lovers or whatever. But

Karl Iglesias 1:02:01
basically, anything that you totally a bore hate, and you're gonna force yourself, and believe me, if somebody is going to hold down down to it. So actually, you're going to have to give the $1,000 to your friend, so that they're going to send it and they will send it if you don't give them the script by February 1. And I guarantee you, you will finish your script by February 1.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:21
There's actually there's actually websites dedicated to this. There's one called I think, stick calm, which is like the characteristic right, and you do a public Yeah, you put it you put up your thing, and it does exactly that they'll deposit if you don't, if you don't supply it, they will deposit it directly into the the opposite, you know,

Karl Iglesias 1:02:39
and believe me, and that suddenly now you have stakes, now you have motivation, you will you really need to finish that right you will

Alex Ferrari 1:02:45
write you will write,

Karl Iglesias 1:02:48
it may not be good, but at least you'll finish it. And that's step number one, you have to finish it. And then you can go back to it and fix what's not working.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:55
Can you can we talk about the rewriting process a little bit because that is such a, that is such a about oh my god, big but also, like I found myself when I'm writing a lot of times in this old, the old versions of me is I would I would rewrite as I write because it was an excuse to not continue. So you have the greatest first chapter, or the first the greatest first 20 pages ever. Yeah, but you It's useless because you haven't finished it.

Karl Iglesias 1:03:23
I'll meet you halfway on that one. There's a trick. And it's actually Eric Roth was the big time screenwriter or as GM. So Eric Ross technique, which I think is pretty, pretty effective, is that every day he rewrites from page one, but every day he adds to it. So that so he so let's say the first day that's the first scene, right is three pages or 10 pages, the next day is going to rewrite page 10 and continue to page 15. The next day is going to go page one to page 20. The next day is going to go to but he's always starting from scratch so that by the time to script is done, he's rewritten it like 30 or 40 times. Right. So I think that's a really good technique. It takes a little longer, but that's his technique and and you know, you can, you can tell, but that's

Alex Ferrari 1:04:05
but that's like Samurai level writing. Like you're talking about a master. He's talking about like to be a first time writer doing that. Like he says

Karl Iglesias 1:04:14
you cannot be a minister right off the gate.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:18
We talk Karl Karl, stop

Karl Iglesias 1:04:19
Alex, we're talking about techniques here. We're not talking about we're not talking about talent. Okay, darlin, right talent is that thing that you either have it or not, or you keep you keep getting feedback. Well, yeah, good idea. good story. That's fine. But we're talking about writing habits here. And these habits, right? You can line anybody can do the rewriting trick. There's another benefit is known for the break the chain. Have you heard of that one?

Alex Ferrari 1:04:44
No, no, I haven't which one.

Karl Iglesias 1:04:45
So this was to be Jerry Seinfeld's technique for making sure that he wrote jokes every single day. And so what he did is that he had his calendar, and every time you wrote he would put a big x, right, and then the next day, an X an X and another x And his job when he looked at his calendar was to not break the chain. Like he got yet to make sure he had an X every time because if he didn't do it one day, he would break the chain, you would see this whole of the chain of x's. So that's a really great trick, like you look at that chain, you go, Oh, my God, look at all those things in a row, I've been so productive, I don't want to break the chain. So you just keep doing it, you know, they're very, very powerful.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:25
And the longer the longer that chain is, the less likely you are gonna break you like I have my chain has been going for five years. And it's just like, it just keeps going. And that's very powerful. The Eric Eric Roth one I love and I think it's a wonderful way of you do that. That's so simple.

Karl Iglesias 1:05:42
We're not talking about we're not talking about some people rewriting the same chapter one or four scene right and never never writing anything new. But that's right, something new. But that's the

Alex Ferrari 1:05:51
thing. That's the discipline. That's the discipline that I'm pointing out is like, you have to have the discipline to keep going. Make sure you it's that's why it's like I think it's a little bit more Samurai in the sense of the just the discipline aspect of it. But in theory, I think it's a fantastic technique. It's a fantastic habit.

Karl Iglesias 1:06:09
Not everybody can be a samurai if they if they applied in practice.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:14
I I agree. I agree. Maybe I'm here. Maybe Maybe I'm a little too cynical. Maybe I just got to I got too much shrapnel. I got too much shrapnel in me. Right. I'm in the midst of this. I'm still you're away from Hollywood right now. Like I'm in it. I still am very cynical. I just seem too much.

Karl Iglesias 1:06:33
fresh air. Yes.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:34
Yes, exactly. You og. Exactly. The stench of Broken Dreams are out here, sir. And I can't go We're here to help. But we're here to help. And that's why I do the show. I want filmmakers to understand the realities of what the business is. But yet to continue to follow that dream. Because if we don't, what is the reason why we're here? I mean, if not, we can all be accountants somewhere making money, or we can be I'll be a lawyer somewhere doing stuff. We're here. We're crazy. We have to understand we're all nuts just for even being here. This is a crazy business. And to try to make money in this business is even more insane. We're carnies. We're Carnival folk. Especially. Alright, so I'm going to ask you a few questions asked all of my guests, sir. What are three? What are the three screenplays every screenwriter should read?

Karl Iglesias 1:07:25
Whoo. That's a great question. Um, it really depends on john. Why? Yeah, well, no, not just john rrah. But why would you read like, if you say, if you like, for example, for me, like, if you had a problem with dialogue, I would tell you which dialogue scripts territory, you know, like, I would say, Go read the Tarantino script or, you know, Aaron Sorkin or David Mamet, right? Or if it was for description, specifically, like I would say, read a Tony Gilroy, read the Shane Black scripts, right? I mean, so that's all very, very specific. You have craft elements that some scripts are better than others. But overall, for overall great storytelling. I don't say read any, any Pixar script if you can get your hands on it. But But you know, I would go for my favorite filmmakers, like, you know, a Billy Wilder so they read the read some like a hard read the apartment, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. Blade Runner. You know, inception. I mean, it's all you know, I can just name all my favorite movies and say, Go read that script. You know, now, what

Alex Ferrari 1:08:29
advice would you give a screenwriter trying to break into the business today?

Karl Iglesias 1:08:33
Write a great script. I know you've probably heard this a million times. But it's really telling you I mean, so many people are so worried about the marketing and the networking, pitching, pitching and all this thing. And they don't realize all they need is just one great script. I'm not saying only write one script, I'm saying just write a great script, because you can literally drop it anywhere or anybody you meet by accident, even if it's the accountant or, you know, I'll tell you a funny story. One of my clients recently, they're writing a script, and they're writing it for a specific actor in mind. And they've been, they've been working on it for a very long time. And out of the blue, he's a tennis player. And he tells me that a blue that one of his tennis partners that he plays on a regular basis is the head of accounting for Netflix. And I'm going okay, dude, because all this time has been waiting to send it to the actors. Production Company, right? I say, dude, just make sure you let you finish to make sure it's a great script, right? And then give it to the accounting guy on Netflix, because I guarantee you that if he loves that script, he's going to give it to the right people at Netflix, who then will show it to that actor. And the actor will say yes to Netflix and not to these two unknown writers. Right. So that was my advice to them, but that's the thing. So write a great script and you can show it to the you know, it in my, in my one to one habits book, I heard so many stories of how these writers broke in. And, and a lot of them were I gave it to I wrote this great script, and I gave it to the Secretary of this of the friend of a friend of a friend. And you hear so much of these stories of just somebody. I mean, think about it, if you saw a great movie, right? Once you die to tell your friends about it, right? And it's exactly that somebody reads a great script, no matter who it is, they're gonna, they're gonna chances are, especially if you're in LA chances are they're they know, somebody in the industry says, Hey, I read this great script. Could you want to read it? Of course, you know, it's all about word of mouth. You know, it was Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:39
yeah, it was it was how Tarantino got in. Because Tarantino was trying to knock on doors for years. 10 years. And finally, someone said, someone read it. Like, I think it was Natural Born Killers, I think it was or to romance. And, and they handed it to somebody handed this out. Right. And he got it.

Karl Iglesias 1:10:56
Right. So I mean, you know, Michael Arndt wrote, ended up being hired by Pixar strictly on the strength of a Little Miss Sunshine, who, when they read the script, and hired him was before the movie came out. So strictly on the, on the strength of the script, that he got hired. So that's, that's why I keep saying write a great scripts learn, take the time to learn the craft, take the time to write and rewrite as many times as it takes to write a great script. And when you finally have a great script, then you can go ahead and try to network and try to tell people about it or enter it in in a reputable contest like Austin or dimichele. And just just have a great product, because right now, people are just jumping the gun. They're just trying to make connections and, and, and, and, you know, friendships and relationships within the business, right, which is important. But the first thing they care about is, if you tell them you're a screenwriter, the person who says, Okay, tell me about the script you wrote, tell me about your best script, because that's what they want to know, they want to read a great script, everybody's looking for a great script in this town. Nobody has a job in this town without a great script. Right? No, actors have nothing to say directors have nothing to direct agents. I mean, think about all the crew production. I mean, this, like 1000s, the entire town runs on a script, you got to have a script. And that's why it's such I mean, it's the, to me is the best profession, right? Because you It starts with you, the writer, right? You write a great script, and everything will go from there. But if you don't have that great script, if you if you like, you know, you're trying to market without or you're trying to sell a script that's not ready. You're just wasting your time. Because, you know, let's, let's say, let's say you have a great idea for a script, right? And you tell them executives that you just run into somebody at a launch place, right? and say, Hey, I wrote the script. And it's about, let's say, they pitch him like Blade Runner or something. Right. And let's say Blade Runner was never made. It's kind of like that movie yesterday with the Beatles.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:51
So I love that. Right, exactly.

Karl Iglesias 1:12:52
So imagine you were a screenplay screenwriter, in an age where nobody knew all the great movies that have ever made Chinatown, the Godfather, right? Oh, is that right? And they say you're the writer, you'll be the hottest writer in the world. Right? Right. That's only an idea for a movie man. Well, right now. So imagine you're that let's say you pitch a great idea. Right? And the executive Oh, wow. That's a great idea. Can I read the script? Yeah. Okay, you send them the script, the script is not is not good, not ready. The idea is good, the script is not ready, the reader is going to read it, they're gonna do coverage on it pass. That's it, you're done. And chances are you're running, you run into this other that same executives, again, with a second script, or with a with a better version of your script. And believe me, you already you, you got a bad taste in his mind right? about that. So they're not going to be that enthusiastic to to read your script again, or to read another script of yours. So don't break, you know, you only have one chance to impress and so make sure you have a solid script, make sure you learn the craft, take the time, take the classes, read the books, whatever it is, there's so much free information out there right now. Especially on your site, right. Kudos to you for that. And there's other big time. websites that have a lot of free information, like going to the story with my Yes, yeah, lay Right. Exactly. And so, you know, and then get get, you know, get coverage. If you want to see how your script is doing if it's ready, right, there's a lot of reading services, like yours went for, you know, less than $100, you can get a reader to say if your script is good or not. And you and then you don't lose that important first impression from a real executive, right? So get that out of the way or send it to a to a contest to see, you know, the contest take longer to get feedback. Yeah, Peter is I think the reading service is a good way to start. And then if, you know, you may, the reader will just tell you what's not working, that's okay. It's not working. And they may tell you why. But a lot of them they don't tell you and that's when you go to consultant because a consultant will be able to kind of like, go deeper and analyze why something is not working and tell you how to fix it. Right. So I consult as well. And and it really depends on the consultants knowledge of the craft, right. So the more they know about the craft and know, the more they know what works in a script and doesn't they'll be able to help you. So that's what I would suggest. But take the time to write a great script. That's probably the biggest mistake I see writers make that they they just mark it too soon. Right. So that's the

Alex Ferrari 1:15:30
tower. Yeah. And where can people find out about you and your work?

Karl Iglesias 1:15:35
Just go to my website, Carl iglesias.com. My books are the one to one habit of highly successful screenwriters and the big one, the writing for emotional impact, which is all the techniques that I talked about to create that emotional engagement in the audience. So I feel that is probably the key to the craft. That's also available on Amazon and on my website, and everywhere books are sold. But you can get all the information from my website. So Carl guy says calm

Alex Ferrari 1:16:01
Yeah, absolutely. And then we have some of your courses on indie film, hustle TV as well. Yeah, so we'll be able to and they're great. And I saw I want before I ever had the pleasure of meeting you, sir. I was taking that that DVD course and reading that book. So thank you so much, Carl, for all the work you've been doing to help the screenwriters out

Karl Iglesias 1:16:19
my manager. I was I was love to talk about the craft and it's a pleasure. Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:23
Thank you my friend. Thank you, Carl, again for coming back on the show and dropping the knowledge bombs on the bulletproof screenwriting tribe. I truly, truly appreciate it my friend. And I've partnered with Carl to bring you his screenwriting masterclass series on indie film hustle TV, which includes how to craft dialogue, how to create themes, how to dig into plot, how to use some of the best habits that the biggest screenwriters in the world have, and much much more. You can check all that out at indie film hustle.tv and if you want to get links to anything else, Carl has to offer his consulting his other high end courses his books, head over to the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash bps 061 Thank you guys so much for listening to the podcast. I truly appreciate it. If you haven't, please leave a review for the show, head over to screenwriting podcast.com and leave a good review for the show. It really really helps us out a lot. Thank you again so much for listening guys. As always, keep on writing no matter what. I'll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the bulletproof screenwriting podcast at bulletproof screenwriting.tv


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BPS 007: How to Create an Emotional Impact in Your Screenplay with Karl Iglesias

This week we were lucky enough to have as our guest best-selling author Karl Iglesias. He has written award-winning books including The 101 Habits of Highly Successful ScreenwritersWriting for Emotional Impact, and Cut to the Chase(FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSIONS HERE)

I discovered Karl Iglesias’ work reading Writing for Emotional Impact. It really transformed the way I wrote screenplays and created a bunch of new habits that I still use today.

Karl is a script-doctor, author, award-winning instructor, and story consultant, specializing in the reader’s emotional response to the written page. He helps writers, filmmakers, producers and advertising executives craft better stories that connect emotionally with an audience.

It was a major threat to interview Karl on the show. His work is so specific but yet broad. His one rule that can never be broken,

“Always be interesting.”

I think most films coming out of Hollywood today should take that advice. Keep your audience engaged and emotionally invested. So many filmmakers and screenwriters today don’t understand that basic concept.

I really asked Karl the tough questions so we could fill this episode with amazing content for you. This is one podcast you won’t want to miss. Enjoy!

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
Now today on the show, we have an emotions expert. His name is Carly gliss. Yes, he's a best selling author and master lecturer around the world. And he really focuses on the emotional impact of writing and getting the most emotion out of the words that are being put on the page. I've read all his books and taken a few of his courses. And he's wonderful and really made me start thinking differently about how I write what kind of words you use to just pull out that emotion to really get the reader really excited about what they're reading. So I wanted to bring them on the show. And this episode, I beat him up something fierce. It's literally kind of like a free masterclass on screenwriting, and emotional impact of your characters and story, and even told me afterwards he's like, my god, you really beat me up in this episode. I'm like, yeah, why don't get as much stuff out for screenwriters as humanly possible. So please get ready to take some detailed notes as we dropped some major knowledge bombs in this episode. So without any further ado, enjoy my conversation with Carl Yglesias. Welcome, Carl, thank you so much for being on the show.

Karl Iglesias 3:18
Thank you. My pleasure.

Alex Ferrari 3:19
So we'll jump right into it. So um, what is um, your teachings are focused on the emotional impacts of stories and screenplays? Can you explain this a little bit to the audience?

Karl Iglesias 3:29
Sure. So I was I was a writer, I'm still a writer. And, and I tend to be kind of very left brain. My wife likes to say that I have two left brains. Very, very mostly logical. And the thing that drives me more is, is the trying to understand how things work. So I've always wanted to tell stories, I was wanting to be in filmmaking. And, and I wanted to know why, you know, you read all the books and tells you, okay, you need to do this, you need to do that for structure, character development, character arcs, and everything that being that was being taught, I was wanting to know why. And, and so I started to get more into the effect of storytelling more than the rules. And it really didn't take long to understand why I was loving certain films more than others. And it was basically about the emotional response that I was getting from these films. You know, I tend to get into like, you know, comedies or thrillers and I realize, well, the comedy that doesn't make you laugh is not it's not never going to be your favorite movie, or a horror film that doesn't scare you. It's not going to be your favorite horror film. So it's really all about the emotions and response of the movies. And so I tend to kind of went, you know, with reverse engineering figure out, okay, the effect the end effect is the emotion, the emotional response of the audience. And so how do you get there? How do you do that? And that's what I tend to focus in my studies and In my teaching, you know, it's a kind of, you know, people say it's the kind of book that you always wanted to read, but couldn't find out there. So you wrote it. That's, that's what it is. They also I wrote down. You know, as far as I know, I'm the only one who speaks about this. And I think it's the most important thing. You know, if, you know, when people read your script, if they don't, if they're not engaged by your script, and you lost, that's it, it doesn't even go past the Faster Reader to the executives, let alone two actors and directors and, you know, the studio betting, you know, 100 million dollars to make your film if it doesn't engage them. So the rule number one, and the only rule in storytelling is to engage the audience and not be boring. And that's really, you know, I like to say my classes that there's only, you know, there's there's this 1000s and 1000s of rules, and principles from all the books, but and you can break all of them. Except one, you cannot break this one rule, which is be interesting. And as long as you're interesting, you can break any rule you want. And I think you'll still be a good storyteller. But that's the key, you got to engage your audience. And so So I focus more on the actual specific techniques that generate those emotional responses.

Alex Ferrari 6:15
So with that said, I'm going to I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit and one of my favorite films of all time, and arguably now according to IMDb, the number one film of all time, The Shawshank Redemption.

Karl Iglesias 6:28
Okay, yeah, great film.

Alex Ferrari 6:30
It is. It's absolutely amazing. And I've analyzed that movie so much, because I've, I've wondered what, what is in that story? And in the way that Frank Darabont wrote that story, and also directed, and the characters and the actors and write the whole package? What in that movie that touches so many people, I mean, like, in a way that there's never been another movie that I know. Right now, when it came out. It wasn't like this blowout success. Obviously, it was not a big get nominated for Best Picture, but it didn't win. But but it's one of those movies that kind of grew later. And till now, all of a sudden, it kind of just came up and took over the Godfather, like you know, absolutely. You know, when the Godfather came out, it blew everything out the water everybody knew was the greatest thing ever made it that right? But Shawshank didn't. And I'm curious on your take of why that story hits so beautifully with everybody.

Karl Iglesias 7:24
Well, there, I think there's two combinations, first of all, and you're right, when the movie first came out, it wasn't a success at all. And and the thing that makes a movie a success, usually, from the start, which is the beginning is usually the concept. So the concept is like the book cover, right? There's something about the concept that's unique. That drives people to the theaters, not a great concept. Not at all right? It actually kept people away. It's like, okay, a movie about people in prison. Okay, you know, who cares? I mean, I admit, I was one of them, you know, I was like, a movie does not interest me, right? And it was only through word of mouth and reviews and, and then you finally go, Okay, I'll go see it, and then you wild by it. So when you're in the theater, so you know, when you're trying to make a when you try to write a story, I always recommend you know, since since you're not, you know, you're obviously you're, you're a nobody, and you want to interest people you got to do with the concept first. So at least people open your script and read it. But in this case, you had simply word of mouth. So what is it about once you're inside the theater? Once you're committed to watching these two films, this film? What is it that that wow, so the very first thing is always characters that the first thing is a character that you connect with. And the very first thing that it connects you with is is Andy and a character who is unjustly accused of something that he didn't do, and that automatically connects you. So if you're familiar with the, you know, my techniques for, for connecting emotionally with a character, you know, the one of the most powerful one is pity. So feeling sorry for someone, and you automatically feel sorry for him because he didn't do it. You know, he's accused of something. And he's accused for it, I guess his life right? For something that he didn't do so this on undeserved misfortune is one of the biggest, biggest techniques you can use to connect with a character. And so you're automatically connected. So you're already on board. And then you realize, okay, well, you know, what do you do when you're inside of prison? I mean, so, you know, the only thing you can do to survive is hope, and hope is probably one of the most powerful themes and messages in stories. It's true, you know, because all of us in our life so life's our struggle. And, and especially in the

Alex Ferrari 9:46
movie business.

Karl Iglesias 9:47
Yeah, exactly. But if you look at you look at, you know, great stories, and certainly the foundation of most religions is hope. You know, it's one of the most powerful things So you got a character we care about, you know, combined with this message of hope, you know, you know, get busy living, or get busy dying, which is such a powerful line. Right, amazing. And there you go. And then of course, you know, you got to you got to tell a good story. So there's elements of suspense, there's attention, anticipation, surprise, humor, other characters you care about, read, you know, certainly fear. You know, once you're, once you're connected with a character, what what you do as a storyteller, as you're trying to make us worry about that character, you know, you hope that they will be happy, and you hope that they'll survive, or whatever they do whatever they want. The interesting about this, this, this movie, though, is that we didn't know what Andy, you know, his, you know, his goal was secret for 19 years. And so, we didn't really know what the what his main goal was other than surviving. But if you create jeopardy for that character throughout, and they certainly do in this in this film, you're worried all the time. And so you're constantly engaged in this film, so you have you have the character you care about, you have to struggle. And then of course, the the bigger, you know, epiphany and the way everything is resolved, which is very clever, surprising. You know, poetic justice at the end. I mean, it's just in friendship. I mean, this got you know, everything is there you got all the the great ingredients. And and of course, you got to, you know, give kudos to Stephen King for the story and for for Darabont for the adaptation, but it's just one of those. One of those things where everything all the stars are aligned, and, you know, with great characters and performances, and, you know, a great script. I mean, yeah, it's definitely one of the one of the greatest movies out there.

Alex Ferrari 11:51
And then Darabont I heard he literally gave them the script away to get the opportunity to direct it. Yeah, yes, he was, he was offered a few million because people who read it in the business understood that that this was like, Oh, this is serious. This is a good script. Yeah. But he, he they offered him like seven figures like high like mid to high seven figures for it. And he's like, Nope, he finally, Director He wanted to start his career. And I think I think it was a good idea for him.

Karl Iglesias 12:17
Absolutely. Yeah. It's kind of like Sylvester Stallone and raw. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 12:21
Do you actually believe that Rocky was written in three days? He says he wrote it in three days, it possible

Karl Iglesias 12:29
that you wrote it in three days, but he probably developed it over a longer period of time. Right.

Alex Ferrari 12:34
And that's another great I mean, geez, yeah. Oh, absolutely. That script is the ultimate underdog story. Yeah. So let me ask your question. Why is Hollywood's Why is Hollywood lacking such emotion, true emotion? And its films today? And what are they like? Why do you why do you think because in the 70s, in the 80s, even there was more emotion and character in their movies than today. Today, it just seems to me so flat and so heavily reliant on visual effects and concepts and things that we've, we've seen back from the 70s and 80s, that the rehashing today, why, what what do you think of the bow into business today? In general,

Karl Iglesias 13:10
it's, well, I, you know, the business is always a sign of the times, it's always a, you know, a reflection of the culture. And, you know, our culture in the 60s and 70s was a lot different than it is today. And, you know, you got to understand that the film studios are a business, they're corporations, they're in, they're in the business of making money. So they're not in the business of making art. It's one of those really interesting paradoxes, where, you know, I think in Europe, they're more interested in making art, because there's their films are subsidized by the government, you know, but but in in the United States, it's all you know, it's capitalism. So you basically go, Okay, well, what, who buys our films? Who are films for who is our audience? What do they want? You know, and when you have a huge population of, you know, 1415 year old boys who, who goes into movies, that's why you have so many, you know, superhero movies, and kinda like, you know, video game type movies and horror films and comedies, and, you know, but that's the sign of times. And, you know, once in a while you get, you know, a great movie that goes across all all demographics, you know, the four cue movies, and then, you know, then then try to make the same kind of movie and then people get bored. It's one of those things. I mean, we're, you know, one of the one of the strongest emotions we have as an audience is, is the sense of, we always want something new. And when we get the same thing over and over and over, we eventually get tired of it. And we gravitate and we grab on to this new thing. So you'll always get those in. In movies, you always get that one film that just just just you know, the slit the sleeper hit, basically, right? And then everybody wants to make it, you know, and then they beat it to death and beating to death and then you try something new. The thing that really, really surprises me Still is this, you know, as the superhero movies, keep going on and on about it that have been, you know, slated for release until you know, 2020, which is unbelievable. It just is such a, you know, a high confidence in movies and and I'm kind of surprised that it has, you know, there's so much saturation, I'm surprised that the the audience hasn't heard of it. But

Alex Ferrari 15:22
And now and now Warner Brothers is getting into it. And now they bring all their slates out. So yeah, I'm, I'm wondering about how much longer I'm a comic book geek. So I'm, yeah, I'm happy about it. But right at a certain point. I, you know, now they're going to be doing Star Wars every year. Right. Right. Until foreseeable future, you know, it's so it's,

Karl Iglesias 15:42
well, the thing is, I mean, as long as you tell a good story, that's what can I mean, that's what counts. So so if you guys as you can maintain great storytelling, within that current within that concept and genre, then I think you're okay. I think so far doing okay. You know, I mean, I mean, comic books have been, you know, I've been in business for, you know, over eight years, I think. And so it's like, yeah, and they're still in business. So, you know, as long as in good storytelling and characters. Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 16:11
So what are the biggest mistakes you see in first time screenwriters? Oh, I know, it's a short, it's a short show. But

Karl Iglesias 16:22
a lot of you have probably the biggest mistake Do you have? Well, the biggest mistake is is I think over relying on plot over character. That's one. And so you didn't have flat characters. And the big mistake I see, you know, dialogue usually is pretty crappy. And that's usually the one thing that we kind of read most of, in a script, okay, we're trying to get the story from the characters, you know, and good dialogue usually reflects the character's personality. So you know, and the fact that the script, the scripts don't really amount to anything, they don't really go anywhere, see go anywhere, or they don't say anything, they don't have any meaning. We don't know what the characters, what the author wanted to really say, you know, which is usually reflected in the character arcs. So, you know, there's always a reason for everything, you know, when they say, like, a, you know, structure is another thing, too, we everybody talks about structure, but I don't think anybody understands what that means, you know, they think well, three up structure, beginning, middle, and end, but they don't understand that the turning points that create that structure are more about character than actually plot points, you know, they could, you know, sit for years to come plot points, but so people think, well, it's got to be something big, and that changes the story. It's not really that it's more about the character, and the character decisions, and the character changes, you know, and the epiphany of the character and what that means to the overall story. That's what that's what we can so we're talking about, I think, mostly a, you know, kind of, like, there's a lot of, there's a lot of education out there for stress, but I don't think it goes deep enough, or I think people most most people don't really understand kind of like the deep, deep, deep principles of story and how it relates to us as human beings which I think once you really understand that that's kind of like a it's mostly what my focus is at this, at this stage of my career is really kind of going deeper into story and understanding what what it means and why we why we like stories or why we why story has such an effect on us emotionally. It's good to say well, you know, we enjoy stories and we you know, like to feel suspense but why is that and I think once you understand that it kind of teaches you that how to do it teaches you why you should do it and to you know, kind of makes you see when you don't have it in a script to kind of really focus on it. You know,

Alex Ferrari 18:58
not did you have you happen to see straight out of Compton yet? I haven't seen it yet. No. And I saw it I saw it this last weekend and it's I heard it was good. It's my it's so far this year is probably the best film I've seen, which says a lot about the industry today like a thriller about a good storyteller a good story about you know, gangsta rap is like the best story out there right now, which Wow, that's which fascinates me. But it was good. Even my wife who had no idea about gangsta rap. She sat there. So that was a really good movie. So the character in the story, which leads me to my next, my next question, no, there has been great debate about this question for many years, and I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. What in your opinion is more important plot or character?

Karl Iglesias 19:46
Well, that is a very good question. Well, you probably heard I mean, you heard this before. You know, right. You get both ends, right. But most people tend to lean toward character. And the reason for that is because you will, you will hear that character creates plot. You know, the more since since we need to connect with character and since we tend to appreciate more three dimensional characters, you know, you can't really kind of have just a plot that's already ready made, and trying to fit characters in it because the end result will be flat characters. So characters tend to have the edge. But here's my point on it. My here's my view on it. Stories are neither plot driven nor character driven. Okay, okay. So that that's going to be probably kind of the controversial thing to say you think it's one of the but it's neither. What I like to say is that stories are tension driven. So it's not part of character, it's tension, that grabs an audience that makes you appreciate a story. And tension is really, you know, a problem that needs to be solved. Or a character that needs to change. Okay. Um, so, you know, you could have unique tension at the story level, to keep us it's the only thing that keeps us engaged. Basically, when when I talk about all the emotions of story and talking about the audience, emotion is not the character emotion. So you have, for example, you have character emotions, like you know, you know, sadness and joy and fear. When I'm talking about the audience emotions, the emotions you pay money to go see in the theaters. We talked about curiosity, anticipation, tension, hope, worry, surprise, laughter. Right. Those are the emotions you like to feel in as an audience. And all of these can be incompetent, like into that one umbrella of tension. In other words, when you feeling tension in a story, there's no way you're bored. You're completely engaged when you feel intention. So that's really the key emotions you want to feel

Alex Ferrari 21:54
now tension and tension. And what's it like tension, any kind of tension or comedic tension or

Karl Iglesias 22:00
tension? It's attention, intention, basically, me it's basically to me, it's the opposite of boredom, basically, okay, you know, you'd like if you're passively sitting back in your seat, and you're going through, you know, you think about something else. When you're feeling for example, if somebody creates a question on this, you see a character enter a room, the very first thing that goes in your mind is Who is this character? Right? So why are they in the room? What are they doing? Where are we? So all these questions when you first start a movie, that creates curiosity? Right? So curiosity, that sense of curiosity in your brain is tension. Right? Because you have this question, when that question gets answered, you have tension relief. Okay, and everything, you know, everything that's enjoyable about life, is tension relief, basically. Right? I mean, when you're, you know, when you're when you're having you know, you want to have sex with someone, you have this, you know, you have tension and it gets it gets released. At the end, when you have, you know, when you're hungry, that's tension you eat, you know, you have to feel satisfied, right? You're tired, that's tension, you go to sleep, you feel relief. So it's all about tension relief, excuse me for so. And so, so it's all about tension. So all these you know, when you feel anticipation, you know, like, the character says, Okay, I'm going to go and, you know, to, I need to go to Europe to catch a killer, right? So when you say, I'm going to Europe, so you're anticipate the arrival to or, you know, meet me meet me in the parking lot. So I'm going to beat you up later after school. That's anticipation. So that's tension. Anticipation is tension. Curiosity is tension. You know, and

Alex Ferrari 23:43
if you're gonna kiss me, you're not exactly

Karl Iglesias 23:45
in a scene. So even so when you go deeper, right? Y'all know that, you know, storytelling is or filmmaking is all scenes, right? So at the scene level, that's another thing too, that when you're talking about what's really doesn't work in scripts, it's mostly seen. So I tend to teach a lot of classes on scene writing, because I think it's at the scene level, you know, that that counts. And scenes are really mini stories. So you have a character who wants something in the scene, and is having difficulty getting it. And that's what creates tension in the scene, because you're well, will they get it? And that's what drives the scene. That's what drives the whole story. If you have a main tension in the story. And really all when you think about all stories are just tension until they are relief until you have a resolution. Right? Yeah, you know, the three extraction people create structure, people have to say that it's you know, beginning middle and end, but I like to say it's mostly, you know, set up struggle and resolution, right. And a struggle is that middle act too, which is the struggle to get what they want. And in a lot of scripts, you see characters first, that you don't know what they want, that hasn't been thought of so that's already broken right there. And if we know what they want, usually it's it's not that difficult. So So it's not that interesting. So there's no struggle. And so, there you go. That's, that's my answer. So it's all about attention.

Alex Ferrari 25:10
There it is that yeah, we've put that we put the end of the debate right now. Yes.

Karl Iglesias 25:15
This is just according to me. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 25:17
of course. Yeah. So um, in your opinion, what is the functions of dialogue?

Karl Iglesias 25:23
The function was dialogue. Boy, you had like, really big, big questions here. I lasted to answer those.

Alex Ferrari 25:31
I'm sorry, I'll start throwing some more softer.

Karl Iglesias 25:35
Well, the functions of dialogue, I mean, there's only two ways you can tell a story really, you can, you can, you know, you can describe something, right? So, and then you can, you can have characters talking about it, right. So the difference between the two is that, traditionally, the narrative part of it is more passive. And the dialogue is more active, meaning that when characters speak in dialogue, you are immersed in the experience, you're, you're there with them, you're like a fly on the wall, like really, kind of being part of the conversation. And that's usually in your brain, that's usually more interesting than just reading. You know, if I told you, you know, Bob entered the room and said to Susie, that he loved her, and that he couldn't live without her. So I'm just kind of describing something, right. So I'm just telling you a little story. But if I say, you know, Bob came into the room. And so and he goes, Susie, I love you, I can't, I can't live without you. And Susie says, well, sorry, I don't love you back, I'm seeing your, your best friend or whatever. Right. So, you know, by, by actually having the character speak, you're, you're a lot more immersive to lead, it's more of an active experience than just description. And usually readers, you know, when they read scripts, and the returns of scripts, they usually tend to just read dialogue, only, they try to grasp the story, because I have to read a script so fast. So they like to say that they read the burden areas vertically, most, most readers, at least, you know, the ones that I know of from experience, because they have to read scripts very fast. And so they usually get the story from the dialog. So, you know, when you see scripts with a lot of description, they usually don't tend to like that takes them longer to read, it takes them longer to understand the story. And also, the great thing about dialogue is that not only you can communicate the story, you can also communicate the characters personalities and attitudes. So you have to get to really get to learn the characters. And also dialogue tends to be the joy of of the, you know, the wit and cleverness and sarcasm and have a story, you know, characters.

Alex Ferrari 27:59
Now, with dialogue, I would argue to say one of the greatest dialogue writers alive today is Quentin Tarantino. What? What is your take on his style, which is so unique that I mean, I've still I tell people all the time, like, there's certain directors, certain writers that might have not made it in this market this time or that time. But honestly, I think if Tarantino shows up today, with Reservoir Dogs, it, it would it would create a revolution just because of who he is and his talent. What is what is your take on his technique and how he does his things? Because they are, it's such a unique person, I always tell filmmakers, if you want to learn how to write dialogue, listen to his dial, don't try to write his dialogue, but you'll never be able to write. Right but

Karl Iglesias 28:46
well, there's well the thing about Tarantino, I mean, first of all, he he is a extremely knowledgeable about film. He used to work as a in a video store. And he used to like pretty much immerse himself in movies and even really obscure and will be, you know, in foreign films and Hong Kong films and crime films. So he's very knowledgeable. So he's able to ask, actually, you know, my belief in of art or creativity is really creativity is really a way of combining old things into something new. And this is what he does. So the more old things you know, the more you're the more resources you have, which is this knowledge of film, the more you can combine them into something unique. And that's what he does very well. So that's that, too, is that he's not afraid to break the rules. Oh, yeah. And like I said, like, I use Turnitin all the time and examples of when I say that you can break every rule except one. And be interesting. And that's that's the one that he that's what he does. I mean, he breaks every single rule except one. He's always interesting, and that's why he's successful because people people gravitate to his films because they know they're not going to be bored.

Alex Ferrari 29:57
Right and so if you watch this, if you watch Pulp Fiction, which The structure of that film was is non obviously not standard. Right. But if you look at the plot points, they actually hit. Yeah, well, you know, which is kind of weird. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Karl Iglesias 30:25
Absolutely, well, yeah, well, it's like, you know, the, the French filmmaker, genre Equador is known, it's known for to have said, you know, every, every film has a beginning, middle and end, not necessarily in that order. Right. So, you want to if you don't put Pulp Fiction in the order of the stories just would be decided to tell it in a in a just nonlinear way. You know, you just played with time a little bit. You know,

Alex Ferrari 30:51
and, and it just Yeah, and obviously, yeah, it

Karl Iglesias 30:53
was very unique. Absolutely. And entertaining, which is the most important thing. I mean, you know, you know, I've seen films where people tried experimenting with things, but they were just boring as hell, you know, right. In this case, he experimented, and it turned out, okay, because it was interesting. You know, he still told the story with interesting characters, and surprises.

Alex Ferrari 31:14
So, um, you wrote a book called 101 Habits of Highly Successful screenwriters. Can you share a few of those habits with the audience, some of the some of the top ones that you think are really important?

Karl Iglesias 31:25
Well, the very, very top one is the one that started that's that led to the rain for emotional impact, which was Habit number 69, which was evoking emotion on the page. And so one of those habits was, you know, it, successful writers are so set six are successful, because they're able to evoke an emotion on the page consistently. Write so they're able to create that emotional response in the reader. They're always entertaining. So they're masters of their craft. And and when I started teaching, because of that book, at the time, I was just a writer, and I was no interest in teaching, I was just a writer, I just wanted to be alone in my room, right. So I started completely terrified. But I was invited to the very first screenwriting Expo and because of that, those habits book, the book, and the thing that most people wanted to know was, was, of course, this particular habit, which is a craft or wanting to know about the craft. So I started teaching about the back part of it. And then people eventually wanted to want to have a book. And that's the reason why the second book was written, because people just kept asking, you know, from after my presentation, so is there a book with all that information that I was giving? So, but in terms of habits there, so that that's the number one, by far, I mean, you could you, you could, like I said, you could ignore any other habit, if you if you consistently are able to create an emotional response in the reader, from your words, you're guaranteed success. Because, you know, you can just, you know, you can drop your script in the middle of a Beverly Hills Park, and, you know, an agent will pick that up and read it. And if they're totally wowed by the script, there's no way he's not going to pick up the phone and call you. But that's the key, they have to be wowed by the script and 99% of the scripts out, there are not that, you know, that great, unfortunately. So that's, that's why there's so much problems. But the other thing too, and this is more about the business aspect of it is that one of the habits is that you're you, you, you have to have, you have to develop a really thick skin in Hollywood, because most of the businesses rejections, so you have to be able to be able to take rejection, and be able to live with it and be able to persevere and keep writing and keep getting better. And keep having hope. You know,

Alex Ferrari 33:54
I'll tear and tear and it took forever. For Yeah, do you think

Karl Iglesias 33:59
one of the one of the, you know, surprising things when I was interviewing all those writers was that their very first script that they sold was usually their 10th or more, you know, that they kept they kept writing, even though they kept being rejected and not selling anything and having to, you know, work crappy jobs, or even not having any money in the bank and struggling, but they just kept at it. And I think a lot of writers, even very talented writers, who could be great writers, usually because of life and family and usually give up because because of the realities of life and don't have that persistence and that passion to to keep writing. You know,

Alex Ferrari 34:39
I think writers are one of the most undervalued parts of the filmmaking process. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it is all part that I mean, it starts on the page.

Karl Iglesias 34:49
Uh huh. Yeah, yeah, it started they're really the most important element. I mean, when you think about it without the writer if there's no script, nobody in this town has a job. Right? Right. I think about all the jobs in this industry right this Over 200 300 jobs that are related to making a film, if not more, right, if not more, and, and we're not talking about just the film we're talking about, you know, the business agents and producers and and accountants and lawyers. I mean, if without a script, nobody has a job.

Alex Ferrari 35:16
As as, as Hollywood realizes every time there's a Writers Guild strike Exactly. All of a sudden, everyone goes, Oh, wait a minute, we need these guys. Right, exactly. Maybe we should pay them a little bit

Karl Iglesias 35:26
here. But that's the that's that is the paradox that they, you know, they they know secretly that they're the most important, but they think that they could do it. They think that it's not that hard that anybody can do it.

Alex Ferrari 35:39
Well, that's the thing. And if I've seen a movie, so I could write one. It's kind of like, everyone says that. And then I'm like, Well, you could also listen to a symphony, doesn't mean you can write one. It's exactly yeah, it's a lot more than just that.

Karl Iglesias 35:54
So this is all jokes that I like to say about this guy who's who goes to a piano store and he goes inside the piano stores his old man, he sits down and starts playing the piano, and he's awful. And, and the sales because what's going on? What are you thinking? I can't understand this. I've been listening to music my whole life.

Alex Ferrari 36:16
Why doesn't work? I don't know. Exactly. Right.

Karl Iglesias 36:19
So that's the thing. People think that you know, because they because we immerse in films, because we see movies all the time. We know how they work and everything. It's like telling a joke to some people. You know, some people, everybody understands jokes and appreciate jokes, but nobody can be a comedian. You know,

Alex Ferrari 36:34
it's, it's rough to be up on that stage. No question about it. Yeah. So what are some of the mistakes you see in indie film stories? And in their screenplays in general? Because no, they're very kind of different than your mainstream movies. So yes, indie films, I find a lot of times when they hit, they're wonderful. But the majority of them are, you know, a little rough sometimes. Yeah. What's your experience with that?

Karl Iglesias 36:58
My experience with them is that it is, it's not gonna be surprising me, for me to say it's, it's, again, the emotional response. So you know, when you say if an indie film doesn't hit it, that's basically what it means. It means it just didn't grab the audience, the audience was mostly bored by it. So, you know, there's always good elements in an indie film that, that, that mates, the people on board to commit to it and make it and usually it's about characters. The thing about indie hits is that most of them, as far from my experience, don't really have a concept. You know, it's mostly a very soft concept. And it's really kind of relies on character in the drama of characters. And so, you know, great, the characters are great, but, but ultimately, if the audience is bored throughout, in other words, if the other elements, the other emotions are ignored, you know, like, like, tension, or surprise, or twists, or, you know, something unique about it, you know, they just don't to grab the audience, you know, or maybe it's the maybe it's the statement that the, you know, the filmmaker wants to make, maybe it's a statement that we just don't care about. Right? Yeah. That there's a lot of things you know,

Alex Ferrari 38:14
so can you give an example of a few indie films that blew your way and why they blew you away? Oh,

Karl Iglesias 38:21
it's been

Alex Ferrari 38:22
it's been a while it's been a while. You can go back and go back to the early 90s. Go back to the early 90s. If Yeah,

Karl Iglesias 38:29
for me, I mean, the type of movies that I tend to, like, more I like, you know, more thought provoking films, so I tend to gravitate towards the you know, sci fi and futuristic not necessarily fantasy but but so the movies like you know, Stranger Than Fiction, for example. Yeah. So anything that has a really kind of like a really very unique concept to it, but it definitely an indie film. You know, I usually tend to like it because I'm because I'm more intellectually challenged or, you know, like, my mind is constantly working in thinking and, you know, I tend to have more of a philosophical kind of mind thing, so anything that has a really kind of high concept within the indie film, then I tend to like I'm trying to think of the last the last woman Memento was a pretty old Memento Absolutely yeah,

Alex Ferrari 39:19
that was one of those ones obviously Reservoir Dogs and write fiction fiction was kind of an indie but yeah,

Karl Iglesias 39:26
yeah, yeah you know very very old film but a mariachi with Robert Rodriguez, you know that he made the very end right only made it only $7,000. But there was something really unique about it, and it was entertaining. So so high concept good characters, but also great, you know, a good story that really keeps you engaged from start to finish one, one film I

Alex Ferrari 39:52
think that I don't know if you liked it, and I think you might have adaptation.

Karl Iglesias 39:57
Ah, yeah, yeah, um,

Alex Ferrari 39:59
that was Very interesting.

Karl Iglesias 40:01
I liked it. Yeah. It wasn't interesting. And of course, we all enjoyed it because we're writers and we could. We could identify. Oh, bad goodly. Yeah. But you know what I didn't I didn't like it as much as I enjoyed Eternal Sunshine because Oh, yeah, you know, Eternal Sunshine had this really high concept. So there's a good example from the very same filmmaker,

Alex Ferrari 40:20
a very unique filmmaker. Exactly.

Karl Iglesias 40:21
Yeah. Charlie Kaufman.

Alex Ferrari 40:23
Yeah,

Karl Iglesias 40:24
yeah. Although, if you're talking about the Spike Jones as the director, yeah. Speaking of Spike Jones, her to was it was a good indie film. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 40:32
very, very nice film. I like that one a lot as well, right? Um, is there any any advice you can give indie filmmakers on writing their first script, other than what we've already kind of discussed any specific like techniques or tools that maybe that could help them to kind of get off the ground.

Karl Iglesias 40:48
Just Just learn more about story. And we're not talking about just the you know, the usual the usual suspects, box and Mikey and Syd field, we're talking about just go deeper into into story and how to tell a really good one, I think there's, there's still a lot of people that don't know how to tell a good story. And of course, it starts with the emotion. So obviously, I would tell people go read my book, or, you know, of course, of course, and learn that it's really about the emotions, and that you could break every single rule as long as people feel those emotions. So learning, learning how to write scenes, there'll be another aspect to it learn how to write a good scene. I always tell writers to take acting classes, because even if they're interested in being an actor, because you get to learn how to write good scenes from from actors, because that's, you know, they're all they're all, you know, their main thing is, what do I want in the scene and the different beats in the scene? And that's really how you write a good scene.

Alex Ferrari 41:50
That's interesting. That's a really good, that's a really good tip. Yeah.

Karl Iglesias 41:54
And, yeah, and that they learn how to how to create that feeling London, really knowing what an audience wants out of a story. You know, so we definitely want something new. So we want something so probably a thought provoking concept we want characters we can connect with emotionally so that there's actually techniques for that talk in the book. And then once once we connect with a character, you know, give us give us a, you know, a, a goal that that is worthy, you know, a lot of times, you know, a character goes after something that we, you know, it's it's tends to be more of a selfish goal. And we don't really connect with that. This is this is something that I also speak about, about the paradox of the goals we have in life, which is to you know, to be rich, right? We all try to make money and survive. But you never see that in films. You never see that as a goal in

Alex Ferrari 42:53
film. So say that again. See, this isn't your so Okay, so

Karl Iglesias 42:57
there's this paradox, okay. If you if you think about if you ask people in real life, what their what do they aspire to? Right, that's usually aspired to have a good job to be rich to be happy to have things to have material things a big house a good car, Scarface. Exactly. Right. Yeah, exactly. Power. Right. Well, power you see, like the film, but usually it's the in the, in the cautionary tales, right. But about in films, when you think about what is it that people aspire to and films, like what their goals are, it's usually about love a family about saving the village about doing something for another about finding their child. You know, it's more about what's really important in life that people kind of still trying to learn on their own. So there's a there's a connection between stories and the meaning of stories and why we like stories, and what is the the power of stories in our life?

Alex Ferrari 43:53
But do you think do you think that story that had the goal of being just rich or successful or comfortable and having a good family and which are most of the goals of real life people,

Karl Iglesias 44:04
right, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 44:05
Do you think a story like that? Or do you have an example of a story? Well,

Karl Iglesias 44:08
no, we don't I mean, other than I mean, somebody brings the example of how to succeed in business and never trying, which is a famous play. But but you never see that or, or you see that in a character that originally goes after that goal, but then learns, that's not the you know, usually midpoint that the, it's not the solution. So yeah, and there's a reason for that is because it doesn't work. You know, it doesn't, you know, and and to go back to your question about the common errors I see in film is that usually the goals that characters have in a story are usually not what I call worthy goals, right? So there's worthy goals and, you know, flat goals or whatever, unworthy goals. They're mostly unworthy like they're I just don't care, or I just I can't really connect with a character who goes after that, you know, I just don't care. And so that's important. One of the things that I teach about connecting with characters that not only you have to use this, these techniques to make us, you know, feel sorry for him, show their humanity and show their admirable traits to just so you care about them, right? But the second part of that equation is what do they go after and why? And so in the movie, what do they go after, is very important, because if we don't care what they go after, we're just not going to care, we're gonna just go through the motions, and struggle, but we're not going to care. And that's why one of the things that I teach a lot about is Pixar, because Pixar knows how to tell great stories. And, and so and I go through this whole list of the entire movies, and I go and show them what the characters are after. And if you see what they're after, it's always about you know, saving a friend, saving a child falling in love saving the village, it's all these things that are considered, you know, that goes deeper into our humanity and our, our sense of being social with, you know, peered part of this group, as opposed to being a selfish single a person that goes after what they want just to be happy. And you never see that, you know, if talk about structure and redemption, you know, his goal was to not to not to die. But not to be Yeah, not to be stuck in this prison. Right? So he was for 19 years ago, he pointed to escape and he finally escaped. But if you look at what is the thing that really makes us completely fall in love with that movie is is the last, you know, 30 seconds. Oh, no, not not the choice of him escaping. Oh, was decided right? About It. Remember, it's not in the story. It's read story. That's that. It's very true. It is. So if you think about the way the movie ends, the movie doesn't end with Andy escaping it ends with red connecting as a friend with Andy on that beach.

Alex Ferrari 47:03
And right, and

Karl Iglesias 47:05
did you get that is the moment that that makes us go? Oh,

Unknown Speaker 47:09
it's done?

Karl Iglesias 47:10
It's done? Exactly. Exactly. There's actually a very, you know, who Lindsey Doran is the producer? Yes. Yes. So she she's, she's known for talking about story, too. There's, there's, I think there's a couple of videos online, some TED Talks that she did, about the ending of films and how the thing that people really, really care about about a film is not the achievement of the of the character's goal. It's what happens afterwards, which is the ability to share that feeling with people they love. So she mentions Rocky, for example, think that rocky, you know, a lot of people think he won the fight, which he did. He doesn't know, but, but they remember that thing when he goes like, yeah, you know, ADRIAN Adrian, but that, you know, they think it ends on the fight, but that ends up ends with him and her at the end, and saying, I love you, I love you. Right. And she mentioned Dirty Dancing to about the fact that it doesn't end with with with the girl leaping in the arms of Patrick Swayze. It ends with her reconciling with her father. So there's all these, you know, what's really important, I think film and stories talk about what's really important in life, you know, they kind of like they're teaching us how to live there. The I like to say that stories are kind of like the how to manual for life. And, and they're kind of like, they're coded in this in this entertainment form. Because, you know, I mean, people's stories, and yeah, exactly, people can actually tell you how to live but that's usually what you know, like documentaries, or nonfiction or documentaries. But stories are a lot more powerful. Because they're there, they're entertaining, but the messages in there the message that you know, they're kind of like suddenly telling you how to live by entertaining you. It's like a sugar coated pill,

Alex Ferrari 49:01
like like myths and legends. Essentially, that's how exactly the meat and potatoes of our society is passed along. Right? Exactly. So an interesting note, though, on that Shawshank Redemption, that last scene from what I understand was added by the studio.

Karl Iglesias 49:17
The scene about the Mexican

Alex Ferrari 49:19
Yeah, from what I studied the movie a lot, right? And I've watched every documentary ever made. And originally, the original script did not have that scene and how this original script and you remember it ends with him driving in the bus going towards Andy. Oh, okay.

Karl Iglesias 49:35
Okay, but it's still it was fun. It was still as powerful I think.

Alex Ferrari 49:39
I mean, well, but the beach was like we needed to see it. Yeah. And it was

Karl Iglesias 49:43
as long as it's not that it doesn't focus on Andy because it wasn't any story that was read

Alex Ferrari 49:47
on this on the on the bus and he just drove off. And then if you notice that in the helicopter, I think there was a helicopter shot that kind of goes off into the ocean, right and then it dissolves into that because that was the end. That was the last shot. And then they put in that dissolve on Andy on the beach afterwards, which I think with studios notes go, I think that's probably one of the best ones.

Karl Iglesias 50:11
That's true. I think that was very powerful.

Alex Ferrari 50:13
So I have a couple more questions for if you have time. Um, one can you explain and I know this might be a big question. So if you don't have enough time can you explain to the audience what is subtext? And why is it so important? Oh, I'm sorry, cough I'm asking.

Karl Iglesias 50:34
Because you're, you're you're hitting on the on the questions that I have a whole course about, you know, I mean, like, I teach a whole course on test subjects. So right, so this is the I'll give you the 32nd.

Alex Ferrari 50:44
Exam. Yeah, that's all we ask. Okay, so,

Karl Iglesias 50:47
so subjects, okay, so I'll give you an example. So if I, if I said to you, three plus two equals five. And you, your mind will go? Okay, yeah, I got that. It's pretty obvious, right? But if I said to you, or showed you a piece of paper, and I showed on the board said, three plus x equals five, okay, your brain would automatically start solving X? Sure, because you're challenged by it. Right? You go, oh, there's a challenge. Oh, ah, x equals two. I got it. I solved this, right. So that's a good example of the difference between obvious. Sure, dialog are an obvious thing you see, right where it's just obvious. And on the nose, we call that right. And subtext because so subtext makes you an active participant in the scene by making your brain work a little bit. So when somebody says, like in the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, when at the end to connect, and she says, I hate you, Harry, I hate you. And she kisses him. Right? Right. We all know what she really means and feels. Right? We know she loves him. So the line I hate you is really subtext for I love you, but she really feels right. So I hate you plus the case equals subtext. And that's really more interesting than a character saying, I love you and kissing him because then you go, Okay, it's obvious. It's just there. So the obvious and that's another by the way, that's another thing that you see a lot of in terms of problematic scripts. And there's tends to be very lack of subtext throughout, it's mostly on the nose throughout and obvious. It tends to be a passive experience, you kind of mostly bored by it, because you're not challenged, you're not challenged by it. Whereas when you subtext you go, you're like, completely engaged, because your brain is working. You're like, they're trying to figure this out. Oh, I know what she's really feeling. Like you're actually working a little bit. You're

Alex Ferrari 52:52
ahead of your head of the audience a bit. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. As a writer, as a writer, as a writer,

Karl Iglesias 52:57
yeah. Well, you want the audience to feel to be an active participant versus a passive one. So So and there's actually techniques for that and, and really, the good writers, the ones that get higher all the time, especially in dialogue, you know, you get the writers who are hired for two weeks to, to, to rewrite the dialogue. It's usually to take the dialogue, they're just flat and obvious and on the nose, and give it some life. And the life is usually give it some time. subtext.

Alex Ferrari 53:22
Got it? Got it. Alright, so one last one last big question that this is just a geek question. This is just something I want the answer to. Because I know you're, you know, you're, you're who you are, and you've studied so many stories. I'm a huge fan of Breaking Bad. Okay. And it is one of those stories that it's obviously in a screenplay, but in the scope of the story and the arc of that character and the arc of the show. There's never been a television show ever to do what he did. What's your thoughts on how Gillean Vince Gilligan, Gilligan, Gilligan Gilligan, Vince Gilligan actually was able to create, like, what are the key moments or points that made that makes that story so good? Because unlike like, very much like Shawshank Redemption, in the film, we're breaking bad is one of those shows that I can't say universally everyone loves, but it is pretty well respected. And well,

Karl Iglesias 54:21
Breaking Bad is not the only one. I mean, the sopranos did that too. And the wire also did that too. I mean, we've talked about in madman, I mean, we talked about shows that just that great storytelling, it's just great storytelling, you know, if you have a show that has great storytelling with great characters and interesting scenes and surprises, and I mean, I, you know, and I'm a big fan of Breaking Bad too. It was just just a big novel. It was just this novel that took five seasons, and I don't know how many episodes to tell a story and it was a complete story. It was about a character that was very interesting. It wasn't your typical good guy. It was Ark. And it just kept us engaged because we wanted to know how that would turn out. And that's really kind of like the key question of stories. Good stories, I think, always make you think. And make you wonder what's going to happen next. You know if you can have that, that sense of kind of mystery, or you know, JJ Abrams calls it the mystery box, you know? Yeah. Just Yeah. Of constantly making the audience want to know what's going to happen next. They're constantly tuned, they're gonna keep watching scene after scene after scene. In the case of Breaking Bad, they just watch episode after episode after episode,

Alex Ferrari 55:39
except that one episode with the fly. Yeah. Except that one episode with

Karl Iglesias 55:46
the that was entertaining. You know,

Alex Ferrari 55:48
everybody says, like, what the hell with it? The writers just take the day off. They just like, well, we could do it the

Karl Iglesias 55:55
right way. I bet he still kept you engaged, though. Right?

Alex Ferrari 55:58
To a certain extent.

Karl Iglesias 55:59
Yeah. Um, so yeah, as long as it makes you wonder, you know, what the hell's going on? What did what is the meaning of this? Or keeps you engaged? But that was a you know, and it's funny, because I get that question all the time, especially in the sense of, you know, writers are told all the time to make sure your character is likable. You know, it's the biggest note and you know, and they always mentioned Breaking Bad because, you know, here's, here's a character you really connect with who you don't really agree with, in terms of his moral that moral part of it, is doing something as

Alex Ferrari 56:32
illegal. But the thing that's brilliant about him is at the beginning, you did he was just at the beginning? You did right. And that's the brilliance of you. into him. Yeah. And then he turns into Scarface.

Karl Iglesias 56:41
Right. But the thing is, is why do we keep Why do we keep loving? Yeah, because I mean, if you if you it's almost like, you know, if you had a friend, and then you and then your friends started killing people and enjoying it, you certainly wouldn't become his friend anymore. He didn't want anything to do with him. But if you bet if you cared about him, right, you know, that's the thing. So the thing is, is this the lesson in there, but making sure you care about that character? And you worry about them? Yeah, about what's going to happen, then you then you could tell a good story. That's really the basis of telling a good story in creating a character you care about. And it doesn't have to be it doesn't have to be likable, but you have to care.

Alex Ferrari 57:20
And I was I was lucky enough to binge watch most of it up until the last eight episodes. Uh huh. And it was I have every day, my wife and I would just sit and watch three or four episodes. Wow.

Karl Iglesias 57:33
I know. Thank God for binge watching.

Alex Ferrari 57:34
Right. All right, great.

Karl Iglesias 57:35
I think it's a better way to enjoy story because it's a lot more immediate. And you don't have to wait a week. You know, it's all fresh in your mind.

Alex Ferrari 57:42
Thank you Netflix. Yeah. So where can people find more about you and more about your work?

Karl Iglesias 57:48
Very simple. They just saw you have to do is Google my name or just put Carla glaces calm and it takes you to my website and you just get to see all my work there. Yeah, I you know, when anytime somebody asked me for a business card, I don't have business cards, I always tell them just just go to my website. You know, that's my, that's my business card right there. Just my name.com.

Alex Ferrari 58:08
And you have you have a bunch of books you've written you have a DVD course as well that you sell.

Karl Iglesias 58:13
Yeah, well, I don't really sell it. It's mostly the writer store and creative, screenwriting magazine, they have the DVDs, I just basically, you know, they asked me to do something, I don't like to say no. So I do something and then they sell it. Same with the teaching. I teach at screeners University and at UCLA extensions, writers program, both online so people can take courses with me, I also consult so if anybody wants consultation, there's the details on my website. And then I appear on, you know, writers conferences, sometimes, you know, there's this year I'm going to be actually in a few weeks, I'll be at the, at a Writers Conference in San Luis Obispo, where I'll be delivering a keynote address there. And next year, I've been invited to a script conference in Poland, and then an Animation Festival in South Africa. So I'm becoming kind of international now.

Alex Ferrari 59:05
That's awesome. Yeah. So um, one last question. I asked this question for my guests. And it's a tough question. What are your top three films of all time? Wow. And everybody says the same thing. Oh, really? Wow. Wow. Oh, wow. Yeah. Well,

Karl Iglesias 59:24
that's that's a very big question. It

Alex Ferrari 59:26
doesn't have to be an order just three films. Yeah. In the moment that you can remember.

Karl Iglesias 59:30
Well, you know, it's a Blade Runner is right up there. Silence of the Lambs, Shawshank Redemption, the godfather. Anything by Pixar, except maybe cars and cars too. Those are the I know the two weakest films but in terms of story. You know, we just I just watched up last night with my kids. So you know, and I've seen it 100 times so it's gonna you know it always get to you. They just know what to tell. Great story. So anything by Pixar. And and it's one movie too. It's a kind of an Well, I won't say obscure because it's a classic movie, but a lot of people don't know because it's, it tends to be an old film. And that's Charlie Chaplin's city lights for city lights, where he falls in love with a blind girl. And that's one of the you know, it's probably one of the earliest romantic comedies, but but very, very moving, especially the last, if I remember, right, it's silent. Yeah. But it's known for the very last scene in the movie, which is one of the most powerfully emotional filters you know, scenes in the world and the history of cinema. And they always show that they will show that clip or that moment in every every Oscar telecast about, you know, the, you know, the history of films and stuff like that. So, very, very powerful and pretty entertaining film. So I would say that's, that's right up there with my top favorite movies.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:57
Very good, good list.

Karl Iglesias 1:00:58
A good thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:00
Carl, thank you so much for being on the show. We really appreciate you gave us a lot of great gems. So hopefully, to do it was my pleasure. As promised, Carl brought the thunder and brought some amazing knowledge bombs. So Carl, thank you so much again for being on the show, and dropping some major knowledge on this episode. Now if you want links to any of Carl's books, courses, anything about we talked about in this episode, just head over to indie film hustle.com, forward slash BPS 007 That's bulletproof screenplay BPS 007. And guys, if you're enjoying the show, please don't forget to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a good review and give us a five star review. If you really like it really helps us out a lot and gets the word out to help other screenwriters on their journeys. So just head over to screenwriting podcast.com And that is a end of another episode of The Bulletproof screenplay podcast. Thank you so much for listening. And as always, keep on writing no matter what. Talk to you soon.


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