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"Structure is your friend," Lenka Szántó tells students.

"Structure is your friend," Lenka Szántó tells students.

Creative producer of TV Nova Lenka Szántó visited students at the CME Content Academy. She spoke with them about the series Extractors, its conception, and also about how to successfully pitch their own concepts. Szántó also has screenwriting experience, due to working, for instance, on the series Metanol. The interview with her, which we released earlier this year,

 can be found here. Moreover, she also gave students advice on writing.

According to Szántó, the most important thing that creators must realize before writing a series is the answer to three questions: why this – why it's important to tell this particular story; why me – why the creator should tell it; and why now – what is the relevance of the subject matter at the current time. 

 "You also need to define the theme. Define it in an imperative sentence," advised the producer. Examples of such themes can be cheesy moral lessons like "don't be selfish" or "enjoy life." It's essentially the message of the audiovisual work, which doesn't have to be specifically told in the series but naturally comes out to the viewer after watching. 

 Szántó stressed the importance of creating sympathy for the character among the audience. An appropriate way to achieve this is to have a series of unfortunate events that influence the character. That makes it easier for the audience to identify with them. "The magic of doing bad things to characters is that you can never overdo it. The more you beat them, the better the character works," warned the producer. 

 This advice is also known from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whom Szántó mentioned as an example of a structured author. "Structure is your friend. If you want to learn it, watch your favorite series, write down the the number of scenes, and you'll discover the structure hidden behind it," Szántó said. 

 She adds, it is important for creators to be able to write the first episodes of series. In the Czech Republic, authors can hardly handle this. 

 Hopefully, the CME Content Academy students will be able to write a good pilot for a series. In a few months, they are about to make a pitch of their scripted project. For that, they'll need to deliver a complete draft for the first episode. 

 The producer was eventually impressed by the performances of students who pitched projects for non-fiction formats. "The pitching that took place today is comparable to presentations at international festivals. Not just comparable, but identical. Students are really disciplined. They know what to say and what's important," she said back in January. 

 -Matěj Škop