Wendall Thomas - 'Making the Most of Your Secondary Characters'



Making the Most of Your Secondary Characters

We are delighted to announce the return of celebrated film lecturer, casting director, UCLA screenwriting professor and writer, Wendall Thomas. Wendall will be bringing her 25 years of Los Angeles-based industry experience to this day-long screenwriting masterclass lecture in Newcastle on Wed 18 March.

Although every screenplay needs a strong protagonist, a protagonist alone is not enough. The 2014 Supporting Actor Oscar winners remind us of the vital role secondary characters play in the best screenplays, both emotionally and structurally.  It's impossible to imagine 12 Years a Slave without Lupito Nyong'o’s Patsy or Dallas Buyers Club without Jared Leto’s Rayon. From Claude Rains in Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot, Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, to the great Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master and Edward Norton in this year’s Birdman, secondary characters are vital to a script’s success.

Creating strong and memorable secondary characters can be a powerful way to get attention, attach talent, and gain funding for your projects. It is also an effective way to add layers of nuance, drama, menace, and hilarity to your story.

Wendall will introduce a new paradigm which offers practical help in both creating memorable characters and using them to the best advantage – both structurally and emotionally – in your stories.

When: Wed 18 March, 10am – 5pm. (Registration will be from 9.40am for a prompt start at 10am. Please note that we reserve the right to refuse entry to those who arrive late.)

Where: Tyneside Cinema (Roxy, 3rd floor), 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6QG

Booking: Early Bird tickets are available until Friday 06 March (5pm), priced £15. After that, standard tickets only will be available, priced £20. Both prices are heavily subsidised by our funders. To book, please click here. The ticket price covers the cost of classes, printed handouts and teas/coffees during breaks but please note that lunch is not included. Please note that cancellations made within a week of the event will not be refunded.


About Wendall Thomas

Wendall Thomas has worked in Los Angeles for over 25 years as a casting director, director’s assistant, script reader, story editor, development executive, entertainment reporter, script consultant and screenwriter, writing and developing projects for companies including Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Showtime, PBS, RKO, A&E, and NBC.

In addition to writing and consulting, she is in her seventeenth year as Adjunct Professor of Screenwriting in the Graduate Film School at UCLA, has been a Star Speaker for the annual Los Angeles Screenwriting Expo, and runs the Living Room Lecture series. She has consulted for the Atelier du Cinéma Européen Producing Program in Paris, served as Writer’s Mentor for Screen South’s Good Foundations program 2005-2007, and directed the LA FEATURES writer’s mentorship program in the UK for 2007-2009. She also consults for Australia’s Film Victoria and The New Zealand Film Commission. She has presented her “Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts” series at the Melbourne International Film Festival since 2011.


Wendall will also be delivering a small group workshop on Advanced Scene Writing on Thurs 19 March. Places on this workshop are available by competitive application only. For more info please click here.


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