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.



Commentary / Essays

The Script Lab

4 Reasons Why Subtext is Important in Screenwriting

People often imagine subtext like an iceberg: We might see a bit of the story up-front, but there's a whole lot more going on underneath. I like to think of subtext like...


"The Nightmare Before Christmas" at 25: A Pumpkin King whose enchantment reigns supreme

Jack Skellington can't stay in his lane-and we love that about him. The Pumpkin King of Halloween has been tumbling into Christmas for 25 years now, trying to translate its...


6 Screenwriting Lessons from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT Writer/Director Christopher McQuarrie

For someone who won an Academy Award for writing a puzzle box of a film, Christopher McQuarrie does not like to plan. But that doesn’t mean he throws everything at the wall to...


More Teeth: The Appeal of “The Meg” and Other Monster Movies

With the action-thriller shark tale The Meg chowing down on its box office competition, we wondered: What's the appeal of giant creatures that want to eat us? It turns out that...


Time Out: At 20, Out of Sight Still Takes Its Lovers Beyond Time

Snow falls against a night blue sky outside the hotel room where two lovers exist briefly outside of time. Isn't it like that when you're in love? Time slows when you lock eyes...

The Script Lab

3 Ways Marvel Continues to Create Relatable Villains

Ant-Man and the Wasp adds another memorable adversary to Marvel’s gallery with Ghost, a woman who can phase through solid matter and, like a true specter, lingers in audiences’...

Signature Reads

Elmore Leonard's Out of Sight: Comparing the Book and the Film

Jack Foley didn't have a lot of time to think. Prison breaks are like that. Covered in sewage muck and wearing a stolen guard's uniform, he walked up to the woman in the Chanel...

Script Magazine

Beyond Dialogue: Subtext Through Action, Description, and Silence

Films like A Quiet Place show ways to add subtext to your script beyond focusing on dialogue. Valerie Kalfrin examines how to express subtext through action, scene and character...

The Hollywood Reporter

How 'Jurassic World' Made Claire Its Most Evolved Character

The nude heels that Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire Dearing wore throughout 2015's Jurassic World launched dozens of essays about how impractical and inane - if not sexist - they...

The Hollywood Reporter

The Shot Turning the Marvel Universe Upside Down

Avengers: Infinity War knocked fans for a loop - but audiences can't say they weren't warned. Directors the Russo Brothers and cinematographer Trent Opaloch used a particular...

The Hollywood Reporter

My Son Finally Has a Hero Like Him in 'Avengers: Infinity War' (Guest Column)

The haunting ending of Avengers: Infinity War gives audiences a lot to discuss. But one of the film's most exhilarating aspects is how little it talks about what might draw...

Script Magazine

Want Complex Female Characters? Put Them in Action

The latest women in action at the box office would share enthralling stories if we asked, "What do you do?" Go beyond a character's career and explore what she does in the plot...

The Script Lab

Writing Emotional Scenes in Animated Films

If characters are what they do, a great way to learn how to write action that reveals character is to study scenes and scripts without a lot of dialogue--especially animated...

The Script Lab

How to Create Strong Female Characters

With Black Panther and Tomb Raider perched at the top of the box office earlier this year, audiences can see a multitude of powerful female characters lately. They aren't just...

Script Magazine

Developing Diverse Stories Featuring Disabled Characters

If you're writing about disabled characters and you are not disabled, develop these characters beyond their abilities to tell an authentic story. Consider a disability part of a...

The Script Lab

How The Shape of Water Teaches Filmmakers About Acceptance

Elisa, the protagonist of The Shape of Water, may be mute, but how the film treats her speaks volumes about portraying characters with disabilities onscreen. For all its...

The Script Lab

6 Screenwriting Tips from Logan's James Mangold

Writer/director James Mangold adores the taciturn Western hero, an archetype that he's woven into some of his best-known work. Whether he's crafting a story about a lonely cook...

The Script Lab

Screenwriting 101: Humor and Bathos Done Right

Humor is a peculiar tool for a writer. Laughter can add layers to a character and woo an audience, but it can backfire when the jokes drain emotion from an otherwise powerful...

Signature Reads

These Popular 'Universal Monsters' Came to Life on the Big Screen

The young lawyer shuddered, feeling a tad nauseated in the company of his client, though he didn't know why. The count had been nothing but gracious, yet the firelight seemed to...