The Living Character
The art of developing a character one of the most complex parts of story telling. There are plenty of how-to tools, screenwriting techniques and how-to-write-a-novel textbooks.
Yet, what if…
— you had an opportunity to place your characters into a field, a virtual stage if you will, before you’ve actually finished writing them?
— you could stand back and watch your characters ‘be’ and see what they do, where they go, how they stand, sit, breathe?
Using the practice of Family Constellation Therapy, this workshop is a bespoke one-day program designed by writer and psychotherapist, Kimberley Lipschus. It offers writers of any delineation a chance to develop their screenplay, play or novel in an entirely new workshop that has never before been done. This workshop will profoundly transform both your characters and your story.
How does it work?
Writers (workshop participants) will sit in a circle. By default, this creates a ‘field’ that is present in any gathering. By field, imagine a theatre- the audience and stage create a field which exists only as long as the play runs. It is different every night, with every new audience. This is the same in any gathering. Even small ones.
One person will ‘work’ and briefly describe their characters, the story in brief and their challenges. Other members of the group will be selected to stand in as representatives of these characters and from there the facilitator will guide the process.
This workshop will evoke characteristics of your characters that the writer could not have imagined. It will flesh them out, create living breathing characters that will inform your story and will be deeply moving, transformational to your piece of work.
What challenges can I bring?
- be struggling with flat characterisation
- be stuck on characters who don’t understand their purpose
- be challenged by a protagonist who isn’t driving the story
- find your antagonist is weak or ‘flaccid’
- find your characters are disconnected from one another
- have issues finding the arc of the character (and story)
- wish to add flesh, bone and authentic characterisation
- be lost in their story and back story
- be stuck on ways to move the story forward
The power of this practice is that it can uncover hidden dynamics; subtleties and bring an authenticity and true flesh and blood to your characters. It can unlock not only a character but the entire arc of your story. It will inform your entire story.
What happens at a workshop?
A person will briefly discuss their project. We need very little of the story, just where you’re stuck. They will be asked to select members of the group to represent those within their story. The representatives then move around the circle and will report back to the facilitator what arises for them. Always representatives feel like the people they represent, without knowing them but at no time will they feel ‘possessed’ or overcome by another’s presence.
This work is subtle, safe and often joyful. The writer will be asked to walk around the constellation, to hear from each character and to even stand in personally so they can embody the character. This creative process is like none other out there; it is deeply transformative and will profoundly influence your work. This is nothing like a table read or read through. It is not a writer’s room.
There is no pressure to work in a group. You will learn so much about yourself by bearing witness or being a representative for others in the workshop.
Who is it for?
A Living Character workshop is best for:
- Writers of screen, novel or play; for directors or actors at any stage of writing
- Those who want to flesh out characters
- Those who are stuck on story or character
- Those who’s characters relationships need strengthening
- Anyone who struggles with story trajectory and arc
- Anyone wanting to strengthen their antagonists and protagonists
It’s not suitable for:
- Those who believe they have all the answers
- Anyone who thinks this is an acting workshop
- Those who want to treat this as therapy
- Those who think this will be a table read or read through
“During this workshop I watched my characters literally come to life. To see it unfold before I’d actually completed a draft of my manuscript was like watching meeting my baby before her birth. This workshop leveraged my script to an entirely new level and took the story in a direction I couldn’t possibly have imagined. So grateful to this work.”