Writing Characters with Psychogical Disorders Part 3 | Raindance

The Lockdown Sessions: Writing Characters with Psychological Disorders Part Three

(2 customer reviews)


This course was recorded and is available as VOD, to access it purchase it and check your confirmation email for the link.

This course is also available on demand for free in the member’s area, click HERE



At a glance

  • Welcome to Raindance Lockdown Sessions
  • Enjoy professional film education wherever you are
  • An hour of relevant and practical advice from an industry professional

Characters like Jack Torrance in The Shining or Melvin in As Good as It Gets are endlessly compelling. Behind the great performances, the writing gets beyond the archetypes and draws complex characters with clear motivations and actions. Here is your chance to write this kind of fascinating film characters yourself.

What you will learn

  • How to write characters with depression, suicide, (pathological) grief, self-harm and addictions
  • How to get inside their head without losing your mind
  • How to write characters with psychological disorders with strong actions and motivations

About the Tutor

Viktoria Szemeredy is an award-wining writer and director based in Budapest, Hungary, and an alumni of the Raindance MA in Filmmaking. Her credits include the short films Butterfly Daughter, Metaphorms, and the upcoming U Up? She previously was an emergency doctor for ten years, and a psychotherapist for ten years before changing lanes with the Raindance MA and becoming a filmmaker.

2 reviews for The Lockdown Sessions: Writing Characters with Psychological Disorders Part Three

  1. Vanda Ladeira (verified owner)

    Very interesting to delve into the different facets of Psychological disorders and coping strategies. Brilliantly delivered, with honest and useful professional insights. It has given me a new perspective and focus on how I will approach character analysis and directing actors in the future.


    BEATRICE COLBRANT – June 30, 2020

    This was another fabulous lockdown session in the company of Dr Viktoria Szemeredy, a medical doctor and psychotherapist turned filmmaker, a further exploration of characters with psychological disorders, this time focusing on depression, bipolar disorders, complicated grief disorders, self harm, addictions and suicide.

    Depression can affect all of us and, although it sometimes has biological causes, it often affects creative people, simply perhaps they are more sensitive than others. How sad that Yves Saint Laurent, who was so talented and, like most gay men, loved and understood women so well, suffered from depression all his life. But teenagers and children can suffer from depression too although, for children, their unrest and agitation are sometimes called ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – which should really be called bad behaviour. Take me for example. The other day I had the visit of a couple and their young 4 year-old son called Basile. Well Basile seemed to be a rather pleasant chap, even saying hello to Marcel-the-Cat, who belongs to my gay friends Armin and Richard and who was here for a few days, a placid animal now getting old who has nothing to say and nothing to do and likes to be left in peace. It seemed that everything would go well until little Basile started to scratch my wooden floor with his toy cars before deciding that he wanted to redecorate my walls with his colouring pens. I could see that Marcel-the-Cat was not happy about this decision, even getting uneasy and almost worried, just like me. After that, Basile started screaming for being denied the repainting of the walls which he had planned for me and for not being seen as the new Pablo Picasso in doing so. I could see that Basile was in search of a scapegoat and that he was looking at Marcel-the-Cat with the same ferocious look as Damien on his bicycle before he kills his mother in “The Omen”. I started to fear that the visit would not finish well with either Basile or Marcel-the-Cat falling off the balcony and the afternoon ending like a Dario Argento’s giallo. I could see that the parents were a bit embarrassed by the whole situation but instead of giving Basile some prescription tablets to calm him down like they did I think I would have chosen another option, like giving the boy a symbolic mini smack on his bottom, also withdrawing candies for one week and inviting him to donate one of his toys to the local charity shop.

    But here you go, it is often the mental disorders of the people you love which are the most annoying. And God knows that bipolar disorders are on the increase too.
    Difficult grieving is also frequent and the grieving process is often interrupted or simply abandoned with the ghost of the deceased relative being asked to pass the camembert or help you find a lost object in the flat… And what about a widower pretending that he has fallen in love with you only to ask you to recreate his late first wife ? This interesting topic is developed in films like Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, de Palma’s “Obsession” or Corman’s “The tomb of Ligeia”.. Well apparently this is acceptable too as long as both parties agree and that no one gets hurt. After second thoughts I think I could do it too, especially if Vincent Price asked me to marry him. Indeed I would be happy to recreate any woman except Mrs Thatcher.
    Self harming is a serious problem too. It can go from excessive piercing to severe mutilation. The new French cinema de l’Extreme – Extremity Cinema- has explored the concept with films like Marina de Van’s “Dans ma peau”. In different circumstances British Suffragettes had to go on hunger strike and be brutally force fed before they were recognised the right to vote. I am thinking of “Her naked skin”, a moving play by Rebeccas Lenkiewicz on this matter. Nowadays, during their routine visits to clients in prison, lawyers can only sadly notice that self harming still exists as a way for the inmates to claim new rights. As for suicide it is a delicate matter too, difficult to predict, whether is has been announced in advance or not.

    And then what about addictions ? Well they are diverse, whether the addiction concerns a substance, gambling, sex, work, shopping, exercise, smartphones, social media, plastic surgery and even… the sun !

    And what about an addiction to Oscar Wilde, a dead gay poet of immense talent, who was not even a francophone but loved the French people, learned French and died in Paris ?
    This was a very generous, informative and indeed therapeutic session, with participants eager to ask questions related to both the cinema and real life, all questions being answered by Dr Viktoria in her usual kind, generous, pleasant and patient ways. This is part of the wonderful lockdown sessions, which in these rather difficult times help us all remain positive and in vibrant survival mode and mood.

    With my renewed and grateful thanks.

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