Entertainment Consultation for Writers, Actors, Directors & Studio Development Teams
You know as well as I do that creating relatable characters is all about getting the subtext right. When you do, it reaches into the unconscious of your viewers and they feel it.
As Robert McKee says: “Like radio transmitters, one subconscious tunes to another as our instincts sense the churnings within characters; in the echoes of a character’s thoughts, we hear our own.” It’s true. Psychology & Story are necessary partners.
The work you do is emotionally demanding. It requires a deeply formed capacity to step into your characters shoes, to go to those dark and scary places in them (and to do that, in yourselves.) It means drawing on every bit of empathy and self-knowledge you have. I know this well, because being a psychoanalyst requires the very same things of me.
When it all comes together and rings true, you bring alive a character’s most potent inner struggles, those things that make them do what they do or be who they’ve become.
But what if it’s just not working?
I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and writer. I’ve had over 40 years of clinical and psychoanalytic experience working intensively with a variety of difficult psychological and life challenges. If you’re struggling to get the subtext right, I can help.
Psychologically troubled characters are often difficult to portray in believable ways. Even great writers like Woody Allen sometimes don’t quite get it right. That’s why, in my psychological mind, Blue Jasmine and The Irrational Man could have used a little help.
If you’re a writer, actor, director, or studio development team and need a therapist for your character, here’s where I come in.
One-On-One or On-Set Meetings (Zoom during COVID-19 and In-Person After)
We come as viewers not just for entertainment but to understand ourselves and others. We’re curious about what we don’t know. We want to have those “aha!” moments. We’re interested in the depraved or tragic experiences that might not be our own.
Yet, especially tricky characters consumed by their immediate film circumstances, or the past that brought them there, can defy your usual abilities to make a character true to life. If you don’t directly know or understand enough about the particular psychological states that you’re trying to depict, your blind spots might interfere.
My psychological training can come in handy when a character with a complex set of life circumstances doesn’t seem to hold together. I can help you make those characters real and relatable. Or, so dark and horrific they draw a spell-binding fascination. Another set of eyes (especially with specific clinical experience) isn’t a bad idea, is it?
So, here’s how you can use me to your advantage.
Contact me to consult.
Ways You Can Pick My Psychological Brain
- Does your character’s backstory fit with their behavior?
- Would your character act these ways? Why or why not?
- Do your character’s problems work with your narrative?
- What circumstances will make your character fall apart?
- How do certain psychological problems play out in life?
- Is a character not working psychologically? Let’s find why.
- Does a character fall flat; not feeling real? We’ll change it.
- Do you have other psychological questions? Ask anything.
How do you make your character, or your story, relatable, real, human, and accessible? What is your character doing? Why now? Why in this way? How can you be sure that even those darker states reach into our own struggles and give us hope for change?
Have a dialogue with me. Bring your thoughts and questions, and let me offer mine. I can help you create a narrative for your character that links that character’s story with the unconscious subtext that is your story’s driving force. I’d love to be part of your team.
More Help for Actors & Writers
Writers and actors, you have some common anxieties. Stage fright’s not the least of it. There’s nothing worse than wanting success and hitting a roadblock. These are some ways I can help you stand up to the critical voice in your head and develop the confidence you need.
Actors with Creative Blocks & Audition Anxiety:
- Are you having trouble “getting” a character?
- Do you feel inhibited expressing certain feelings?
- Are you worried you aren’t as good as other actors?
- Afraid of making a fool of y0urself in auditions?
- Do you freeze, convinced you won’t get the part?
Writers with Anxiety & Writer’s Block:
- Do you feel anxious about starting a new project?
- Are you worried your ideas aren’t “good enough?”
- Do you feel critical of all that you put on the page?
- Do you feel stuck, thinking you have no new ideas?
- Are you scared you aren’t capable of your new job?
Contact me to Consult.
You don’t have to continue to feel these ways. You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on my office line at (310) 273-4827. Together we can make your writing, auditions, and character (s) work. Let’s talk.
Sandra E. Cohen, Ph.D.
Psychologist • Psychoanalyst
Schedule a consultation
Visit my professional website at sandracohenphd.com