Crafting a Compelling Protagonist

Event Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014 || Speaker: Ruth Atkinson || Check-in: 12:30 pm ||

Crafting a compelling, emotionally engaging character is a key element of a successful screenplay that grabs the reader, attracts stars and ultimately connects with the audience.


**The deadline has passed and REGISTRATION is now CLOSED for this event. Please view our calendar for upcoming events.


Check-in begins at 12:30 pm.
Event starts at 1:00 pm. 

No Refunds. No Credits.

Movies are about transformation. We go to the theater to see how a character grows and changes in the face of adversity. Many screenplays don’t do their protagonist justice. The end result is the protagonist that doesn’t evolve or undertakes an arbitrary journey. This makes for an emotionally unsatisfying story.

Knowing how to give your protagonist an emotionally compelling transformation is vital to the success of your screenplay. Creating characters that undergo a meaningful change begins with giving your protagonist a flaw that they reconcile in a clearly defined epiphany. This is a moment where the protagonist sees their flaw and having faced it is now able to change.

In this workshop we’ll discuss a roadmap for giving your protagonist a clear flaw they come to terms with over the course of the story. This kind of transformational arc creates memorable characters that resonate and has been used in many successful films such as Gravity, Wedding Crashers, Saving Mr. Banks, The King’s Speech and Up.

ruth_headshot_450-150x150Ruth Atkinson is a Los Angeles-based script consultant and story editor with over 20 years of experience in the film/television business. Ruth has story edited and consulted on many films that have won awards and been distributed internationally including Jonas Chernick’s “My Awkward Sexual Adventure”, multi-award winning short film “Lil Tokyo Reporter” with Chris Tashima, “The Perfect Family” starring Kathleen Turner, celebrated indie “The People I’ve Slept With”, Genie-nominated <strong>”Who Loves the Sun” starring Molly Parker and Adam Scott, and the New Zealand hit “Predicament” with Jemaine Clement.

Ruth is also a story analyst for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Screenwriting and Directing Lab, Screen Queensland and the New Zealand Film Commission. She is also a screenwriting instructor and story editor for Project Involve, Film Independent’s (FIND) signature diversity program where she helps develop short film scripts which are produced and showcased at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Many have gone on to win awards and play at festivals across the country.

Ruth has given seminars at The Great American Pitchfest, Screenwriters World Conference West, The Writer’s Store, On the Page Podcast and at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival. She is available for story editing, script consulting and screenwriting workshops and can be reached at

Join us on the Third Saturday every month at:


CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

Free Parking — Enter the CBS lot at the main gate & inform security you are there for the Scriptwriters Network event.

You’ll be asked for your government issued photo ID, and then given directions to the meeting location. You may park in any available space on the lot (unless they direct you to a parking structure during special events).

As this is a professional event, we ask that you please arrive prior to the event start time.

Meeting Timeframe: 1:00 pm to approximately 3:00 pm

Please remember to bring a picture ID and your SWN Membership Card!

Any questions, email us at

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