Perils of a Passive Protagonist

“Never have a passive protagonist” is taught on the first day of Scriptwriting 101. Nevertheless it’s a mistake beginning and even advanced writers commonly commit. The advice rests on the fact that audiences are bored by main characters who can’t make decisions, don’t want anything, remain in a state of […] Continue reading »

Friends Help Friends Create Art

In our species’ rumination on art, perhaps the oldest question is where does the darned stuff come from. I can well imagine our Paleolithic ancestors scratching their heads over that when they peered at cave art as long ago as 30,000 years. Many millennia later the classical era came up with the Muses as […] Continue reading »

Two-Headed View of Narrative

When I was majoring in English at the University of Washington in the early 1970s it gave me a quiet satisfaction to discover that the English Department was situated within the College of Arts and Sciences. I was pleased that in the university’s cosmology Shakespeare (1564-1616) was orbiting with his […] Continue reading »

Pixar Exec Discusses Storytelling

The animation film studio Pixar is responsible for some of the most successful movies of the last two decades, including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Monsters, Inc., and Cars. The worldwide income of Pixar films is $10.8 billion. For screenwriters and other professional storytellers, Pixar is more […] Continue reading »

Wagner as Monster and Redeemer

Richard Wagner reigned supreme over the arts in the 19th Century. That is not only history’s judgement, it was also Wagner’s. The maestro’s many problems did not include a diminutive ego. Wagner’s abilities rose to the level of genius in the way we think of for Shakespeare and Mozart. (One […] Continue reading »