Valerie Kalfrin

Writer. Editor. Script Consultant. Storyteller.

I'm a multiple award-winning journalist, film and fiction fan, and creative storyteller. From writing articles, essays, reviews, lists, and profiles
to collaborating on books and screenplays, I have a knack for detailed, engaging stories.

My interviews include director John Sayles (Baby It’s You), screenwriting guru Robert McKee (Story), actor/director Joely Fisher, actor/writer Tricia Leigh Fisher, and screenwriters Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli), Patrick Sheane Duncan (Courage Under Fire), and Isaac Adamson (Bubbles). My work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, Script magazine, Bright Wall Dark Room, The Script Lab, ScreenCraft, the Final Draft blog, Signature Reads, MovieMaker, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Film Racket and more. I’m also a "Rotten Tomatoes" approved critic and an emerging script consultant working with the Tampa Bay Film Society and Screenwriters of Tomorrow.



The Script Lab

Screenwriting 101: Is it Ever Too Late to Start Writing?

Screenwriting is a dream that entices many of us-but all too often, it seems as if the City of Stars romanticized in La La Land is enthralled only with those on the sunny side...

The Script Lab

From Mad Max to Blade Runner: How to Make a Long-Awaited Sequel Work

More of the same, yet different. That's the hurdle facing screenwriters with sequels. Bring back enough of what audiences liked-the characters, the themes, the tone--yet give...

The Script Lab

Ghost in the Shell: How To Mishandle Controversy

Identity and humanity are two concepts that science fiction loves to explore, so it’s a shame when a film that touts these themes does little more than give them lip service....

Signature Reads

What Is It That Beguiles Sofia Coppola Most?

Few things beguile Sofia Coppola more than the female mind. Her films' meticulous detail and deliberate pacing make us curious like the boys who loved the unobtainable Lisbon...

Signature Reads

Still Dreaming: A Guide to the Essential Philip K. Dick Books

The visually striking "Blade Runner 2049" plunges audiences back down a futuristic rabbit hole mingling noir sensibilities with artificial beings living among people who want to...

The Script Lab

Kicking Your Screenplay Into Gear: How Baby Driver Subverts Familiar Archetypes

The archetype of the morally ambiguous getaway driver driven to care about something besides crime gets a fresh spin in Baby Driver, a hugely entertaining caper that mixes...

The Script Lab

4 Reasons The Mummy Fails as a Launchpad For Universal's "Dark Universe"

Whether you're building one film or several with story threads and characters that intertwine, you need a solid foundation with a focused story and a clear tone. The latest...

The Script Lab

Wonder Woman and the Importance of Tone

The proper tone in a fantastical story can be as elusive as the truth that Wonder Woman seeks with her golden lasso. Phenomenal powers, secret identities, unusual creatures,...


Aaron Sorkin's 7 Tips for Creating Memorable Characters

Aaron Sorkin is known for intelligent, rapid-fire dialogue, but his characters' voices are the last things he imagines when creating them. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of...


How to Create The Perfect Show Bible

By Valerie Kalfrin If you want to pitch a TV series, consider the metaphor of a road trip. You don't just pack a bag or talk about what you'd like to see and do at your...

The Script Lab

6 Writing Tips from our Interview with Screenwriting Guru Robert McKee

There are no secrets to crafting a good story, though it sure feels that way at times. Venerable screenwriting instructor Robert McKee can sympathize. For some people, the words...

The Script Lab

Art of The Sequel: How T2 Trainspotting Builds On The Original

The shenanigans of some Scottish lads who used to shoot heroin together is an unlikely foundation for a sequel, let alone one set twenty years after audiences first met these...

Final Draft

How to Write Compelling Crime

The crime genre unites the tragic and the absurd like little else. Before focusing on fictional mayhem, I was a crime journalist for 10 years. I covered a rail-riding serial...

Signature Reads

Margaret Atwood Is Everywhere (and Likely Always Will Be)

Margaret Atwood is fearless. Intelligent and wildly imaginative, but fearless, too, for the way she twists a thought or an image not just into something gruesome but universal...


Waiting for Ripley

If in space no one can hear you scream, torment is doubly painful. Inside her cocoon aboard a starship, the woman looks peaceful, but she's forced to sleep, unable to dream, and...

Final Draft

The Writing of Wonder Woman

Beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena . . . With such accolades describing Wonder Woman on everything from T-shirts to coffee cups, it's no wonder that fashioning a story about...

Final Draft

Creating Setups and Payoffs That Stick

As storytellers and moviegoers, we crave connection – and these early touches that pay off later foster that feeling. Done well, they trust an audience to pay attention to...

Final Draft

Writing For Ensemble Casts

Writing a story with an ensemble cast is like serving a pie with equal slices. You might start with an idea delicious enough for five or more characters, but if you don’t...

Signature Reads

Living in 'La La Land': 10 Best Book-Based Musicals

The new original film musical "La La Land" twirls in the bright colors and grand cinematic footsteps of classics such as "Singin' in the Rain." It also presents a contemporary...

Final Draft

Screenwriting Role Models: John Hodge

With T2 Trainspotting, screenwriter John Hodge pulls off a feat other writers envy: a character-focused sequel set - and released - twenty years after the original that's...