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(WEBINAR) Writing Believable Couple Chemistry

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: In this hour-long session, you will explore with us ways to make your onscreen couple POP with chemistry!

Movie-goers and reviewers often talk about the onscreen chemistry between costars, but that unique chemistry between potential lovers, an old married couple, or even two characters forming a friendship has to exist on the page before it gets handed over to the actors. If we don’t care about the characters and we don’t have a burning desire to see them unite, in whatever form that takes, we’re not invested in the story and we’ll “change the channel.”

Your job as a writer is to dig deep into why a pair of characters are together or should be together. Though the lens of romantic comedy — but applicable to any pairing — this one-hour writing workshop will explore ways to unearth a stellar, memorable chemical equation that you’ll have a blast writing and an audience will be engaged in watching unfold. These exercises can be used to brainstorm idea generation about potential characters or to apply to your characters in a work in progress.


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Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original “Meet the Parents” and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro.

Her dramedy teleplay “Broadway, Ohio” is under a short option, and has also advanced to the second round at the Sundance Episodic Lab 2020. Her comedy screenplay “Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes” was a finalist for the Lit Laughs Comedy Film Festival. Her play “Bonhoeffer’s Cost” finished a run at The Agape Actors Co-op in Austin, Texas and has been produced at the Beacon Theater in Philadelphia, and the Provision Theater in Chicago. Agape also produced her farce “Suffer The Long Night,” co-written with her “Meet The Parents” partner, Greg Glienna. “Suffer The Long Night” was also produced in Los Angeles at Meta Theater. Her solo performance, “I Could Kill Him For Dying,” ran at Three Cat Productions in Chicago. Her play “Zap: An Unauthorized History of the Microwave Oven” has been produced five times around the country. Her almost one-woman musical, “Fay Burns!” had a recent 28 Hour Workshop. Recent Saturday Series staged readings include her teleplay “Broadway,” and her play “Right In Front of Us.”

Mary Ruth is a screenplay consultant for clients in LA and Chicago, and she has critiqued about a gazillion plays and screenplays. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she teaches screenwriting and TV writing, and also teaches screenwriting at Story Studio. She’s a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network and the Off Campus Writer’s Group. She’s been a guest artist at the Chicago Independent Film Project, Renaissance Theaterworks Milwaukee, and the Michigan City library. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.


  • FREE for CSN Annual Members
  • Pay-What-You-Can Donation for Guests


Guests will receive an invitation email with a URL link to the virtual event space. The link will go live roughly 10 minutes before the start of the talk. You can use Zoom on your phone or tablet (download via Apple or Android store), or your computer via You do not have to activate your webcam or microphone to RSVP.

Everyone uses different devices, different operating systems, and different internet providers. While we can’t diagnose your specific technical difficulties, we can offer a pair of links [this one and also this other one] of helpful tips when using Zoom.

UNLOCKED is an online hour-long writers workshop presented quarterly(ish) by Chicago Screenwriters Network that focuses on a single aspect in your writing. Whether you are a seasoned screenwriter or just starting out, writing a full-length feature or just brainstorming something new, participants are encouraged to have fun and take risks with their work.


Event Details
04. 11. 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm