The Craft of Writing Great Villains

The Craft of Writing Great Villains

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The entire storyline of every movie is dedicated to the hero’s journey. But it’s actually the conflict faced on that journey and the people or forces that oppose the protagonist that will fulfill the audience’s emotional desire when watching a film. There’s no question that a movie will succeed or fail based on the quality of the main character. However, the top requirement after fulfilling that need is to ensure the hero has a worthy opponent to challenge him or her, and to drive the story forward in a way that is always moving, always tense, and always asking for more of the audience’s hopes, dreams and fears invested into the character’s ultimate goals being achieved.

On the first draft especially, writers who spend too much time focusing on the “good” character will often hit the midpoint or end of a screenplay and wonder how the character could change more, or be more vulnerable, or deliver a more satisfying story. And, the answer nearly always lies within the development of a diametrically opposed and complex villain. This character will challenge the protagonist every step of the way to ultimately be the driving force that pushes the protagonist to become the hero truly deserving of their own story’s ending.

In order to write an amazing hero’s story, writers need the skills in place to craft an amazing villain. This webinar will provide the psychological, emotional, and story elements that go into crafting an original villain to each story. Additionally, the course instructor, Kathy Berardi, will provide examples of some of the greatest villains of all time in past as well as current movie and TV programs, and analyze what makes them ‘worthy’ villains. And, finally, character-building exercises will be provided that writers can apply on a needed basis to every story they craft. These exercises will help writers learn to equally balance the focus they put on the protagonist by developing a villain that will help to shape their overall story in an optimal way earlier in the writing process.

In addition to penning numerous feature films and a TV pilot, Kathy Berardi has written, developed and produced dozens of short-form online content pieces for narrative and branded purposes that are entirely based on conflict as the source of the story; and the resolution of that conflict at a pace that keeps the viewer engaged on screen until the very end. A writer herself, Kathy holds an MFA in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television and has received awards for her scripts and film projects.


  • How to craft amazing villains
  • Why building a great villain is part of developing a worthy hero
  • What villains are worthy in well-known shows and movies and why
  • What exercises to apply at each stage of the writing process to ensure villains are authentically a source of conflict for the story
  • The importance of creating villains that are complex and almost sympathetic to an audience to really enrich a story line
  • Why writing the villain could be the most fun you’ll have during your screenplay!
  • Why the empathy you show when writing your villain will inspire an emotionally rich audience experience with your film


  • Writers who struggle with where to go after the mid-point as they’ve run out of story driving conflict
  • Writers who are unclear on what a villain’s role in the story is
  • Writers who want to write complex villains but need help going beyond the “bad” qualities that make up every villain
  • Writers who can appreciate the “bad guys” but want to know how to craft villains more originally in their own stories
  • Writers who need structure and applicable exercises on how to strengthen their hero by writing realistic challenges into the journey
  • Writers who are curious as to why a supporting character as minor as ‘the villain’ needs to be a crucial part of the movie’s structure
  • Writers who may root for the good guy in every film – but have respect and to an unacknowledged extent, sympathy for the bad guy too
The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.