Writing the Character-Driven Screenplay: Alexander Payne Style OnDemand Webinar

Writing the Character-Driven Screenplay: Alexander Payne Style OnDemand Webinar

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As we work on a script project, we may know what the movie is about, what some of the plot movements ought to be, but not know all we need to about our characters. Understanding our characters in relation to the story is crucial. If we ignore who the story is happening to, the emotional logic of the script will, of course, suffer. The constant question we face as screenwriters is: How do we build our characters so their relationship to the story is inevitable?

Alexander Payne has co-written, adapted and directed some of the finest films of the last ten years, including The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt and Election. His movies offer great roles for actors because they are essentially character-driven. Plot matters in his films, but always in relation to character. No matter what kind of scripts you write, what genre or size, the methods used by Alexander Payne to develop story through character can be useful to your writing process.


  • How to write better characters
  • Means to create stronger plot development
  • How story and character are interrelated
  • Ways story and place create opportunities for strong characters
  • Explore ways to improve your writing style


  • Writers who want to write better characters
  • Writers who seek to build out character-driven stories
  • Writers working on low-budget feature projects
  • Writers involved in TV series creation
  • Writers looking for resources for stronger story development
  • Writers wanting to push the boundaries of their storytelling
  • Writers who want to explore the work of fine filmmakers/screenwriters

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