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 Guardian, Bright Wall Dark Room, The Script Lab, ScreenCraft, the Final Draft blog, Signature Reads, MovieMaker, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Film Racket, The Tampa Tribune, Woman’s World, and Poynter.org.

Portfolio

Commentary / Essays

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
"Moana" and Writing Realistic Female Adventurers
Heroic women in adventure stories have navigated a tricky path for years thanks to the idea that the target audience for such films was young men. But Disney's Moana and...
Daredevil in the Details: Lessons in Serial Storytelling
Marvel's Man without Fear returned to Netflix this month for a second season of crime-fighting on the gritty streets and rooftops of Hell's Kitchen. Daredevil, a superhero...
'Westworld' and the Ever-living Legacy of Michael Crichton
Like dinosaur DNA preserved in amber, the works of late author Michael Crichton keep bringing new generations of provocative stories to life. In early October 2016, HBO debuts...
Why Bridge to Terabithia Is as Relevant Today as 40 Years Ago
We all remember how old we were when we first lost a friend in the real world. But friends in literature? That's another story. Charlotte A. Cavatica was the first I mourned as...
Disabled people don't need Me Before You. We've got the Avengers
With the drama Me Before You rankling disabled people and their loved ones on both sides of the pond (and the director still stoking the fire), it's time to applaud another...
No Unauthorized Breeding: Jurassic Park and Female Control
The first female character in Jurassic Park arrives onscreen in a metal box atop a forklift that smashes through the jungle. She bides her time, silent. We’re with her as she...

All Copyrights Belong To Their Respective Owners