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Using Emotion

Lesson 15 from: Screenwriting for Film and Television: How to Begin

Julio Vincent Gambuto

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Lesson Info

15. Using Emotion

This lesson will focus on the tenth fundamental: emotion. In this module, we’ll explore an emotion chart and learn how to use it as a companion to your writing.
Next Lesson: Story Structure

Lesson Info

Using Emotion

the last story. Fundamental eyes. Very, very special one. And so I'm going to spend some time here calling it out to make sure that you understand how significant it really is emotion and using emotion. It is the cornerstone of the work that we're doing, and so it's important. Remember earlier on I said to you that emotion, you're creating an emotional document. That's what a screenplay really is. You're creating an emotional document in order to elicit an emotional response from a reader so that that reader can then go make it and turn it into a TV show or a film that then elicits an emotional response from an audience. So there's emotion running through all of our work, so it's really, really important that you understand it and understand how work with it Now in your writing, I want you to master emotions by understanding the words of emotions and their meanings. This seems rather basic and silly, but I really mean it. There's a really big difference between being pissed off rage, f...

ury. There's a really big difference between being happy or pleasant or elated. Look at those words and really try to understand the differences between all of them. The way that I do this is I use an emotion chart and an emotion chart is something that this hangs on my office wall right above my desk. I see it every day. You can just Google emotion chart, and there are a number of them available online. It outlines all the major human emotions. Get familiar with a chart like this, get familiar with the difference between grief and sadness and remorse. The difference between aggressiveness and anger and annoyance and contempt between interest and optimism and anticipation. Thes air really, really important. And the distinction between them is really important because they're gonna help you to progress, your narrative to progress, how your main character is feeling to progress, how all of your characters or feeling If ultimately you want this character to be furious at something, then you've got a progress toward it. They start out mad, then they get really angry. Then they get fully ticked off. Then they get furious build it invites so that it can build throughout your narrative. So understanding emotions, understanding the words, understanding the meaning of them is super super important to building and progressing track. Your here is emotional state throughout, specifically their before and after, Right? What is the emotional state of your character when they start the movie? What's the emotional state of your character, your hero when they end the movie and throughout, How is that emotional state changing? So I always like to ask the question in every single scene. How is the main character feeling about what's going on? So every time you write a scene in your screenplay, stop and ask yourself, How is my main character feeling right now? Are they angry right now? Are they happy right now? Do they feel jealous right now? Are they in love right now? And make sure on your page that you have texted that right, that there is text to show? How are they feeling? I want to read your script. Executives want to read your script and understand the emotions of the character and the emotional journey of the character. Decide the emotional effect that you wanna have on the audience super important to decide that first, and what do I mean by that? I mean, really make a decision before you even start scripting that this script is gonna make the audience so happy, or this script is gonna make the audience so angry, right? Ah, lot of political films. The point is to make you angry so that you get up and do something or love stories. I want this the audience to feel the love between human beings and leave the theater turn off their screen. Feeling hopeful about love, whatever that emotion is that you want them to feel at the end, decided up front so that you can design it into your script and just a fun note for a while. We're doing the emotion section. Don't cry unless you absolutely must. And then even when you cry, fight it. And I mean that for your characters. If you have them crying for pages, no one's reading anymore. If you have them upset and histrionic and all over the place and over the top the entire time, people will lose interest in that you need contrast. You need toe start in one place and move them toward another place. And even if you write in the script, they burst into tears. Wonderful. It's even more industry if they burst into tears and they fight that bursting into tears. Whatever that looks like for you and for your characters and for your story is your decision. My point is make sure that you progress to that moment. And if you have them crying in your story, make sure you really, really earned it. Lastly, that wraps up our story fundamentals. So those were the 10 things to remind you that you, every story has got toe have in order to make it fly in order to make it really special. In order for the storytelling to be sound and engaging and captivating and and funny, whatever your intention is, I want you to get clear about those story fundamentals. And now I will take you back to the thesis of this class. It's over here. If you identify the story of fundamentals and deepen them, develop them, clarify them, you're gonna tell stronger stories. So now that you've got your story fundamentals, what do you do with them? Let's talk story structure

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Case Study Films
Story Analysis Template.xlsx
Sample TV Scripts
Story Design Worksheet
Story Fundamentals Worksheet
Seed to Script Process

Ratings and Reviews

Carlos Sandoval

Just a great way to start on your path to screenwriting. A clear and concise class with a friendly tone and humor. I think it is important that a teacher has actually worked in the field. Kudos.


Perfect for a beginner or actors who need a better understanding of what is and why is. Info packed and FUN too!

Asem Nurkina

I took this class last year. And after one year of working with presented tools (story design worksheet, story fundamentals workseet, seed to script process) on different projects I can say that it is very powerful and useful course I ever taken. I can strongly recommend this detailed screenwriting guidance by Julio Vincent Gambuto.

Student Work