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Psychology & Character Development: Writing & Performance

Starts February 8

in-person. 2 sessions: Thursdays, February 8-15, 6:30-9:30 pm

Unique characters are essential to creating content that resonates with audiences. In this workshop you’ll challenge your usual framework and increase possibilities for characters. For both writers and performers this means digging a bit deeper into the human psyche and the possibilities for action, reaction, thought, and emotion. By creating specific backgrounds, researching psychological conditions (emotional, medical, and neurological), forming individual behavior patterns, and building situations and interactions in a new ways, your ideas can construct exceptional characters.

We’ll analyze classic and contemporary examples of psychologically interesting characters, review intent by recognized writers and performers, initiate psych databases for info – AND create 1-3 character profiles for your current work (or future projects). Finding the key psychological components (experiences, relationships, conditions, patterns) can detail a character and increase the audience response to distinctive stories. Participants will use their own understanding of psychology while incorporating new approaches to expand development and aesthetic choices.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize character psychological truth in content
  • Expand psychological possibilities for characters and interactions
  • Develop psych databases/maps that coordinate with your writing/performing
  • Create or expand individual history, behavior, response, actions, and abilities

NOTE: this in-person course is held at FilmNorth, 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, Saint Paul, MN 55114. FilmNorth is following CDC’s current COVID-19 variant guidance for Ramsey County:

  • People may choose to mask at any time. Masks are recommended for those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or at high-risk for complications associated with COVID-19 variants.
  • People with any COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should stay home.

Tuition: $180 regular | $145 member | $115 low-income

Brenda Varda is a recent Twin Cities transplant from Los Angeles where she founded Wordspace, a studio for writers in media and live performance, and was also development lead for Element Media. She has taught a variety of arts and psychology courses at the New York Film Academy and UCR including Psychology of Performance, Media Psychology, Psychology of Cinema, and Creative Writing.

Her own works for stage and film have been supported by the Center for Cultural Innovation, SOSE, UCIRA Emerging Artist Fund, the L.A. History Project, Edge Fest, the Mellon Foundation, and the Gluck Foundation. As a playwright and composer her works have been presented at Sacred Fools, the Industry, CalTech, the Broadwater, Unknown Theatre, and more. She is a graduate of Antioch College (Psychology & Creativity) and UCR (Creative Writing) and a member of the Playwright’s Center, SAG-AFTRA, WGA (past), and SCL. 

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those needing to cancel a registration at least 7 days prior to the first class session, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to the first class session, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.
  • By registering for this FilmNorth class you are agreeing to our Community Values Statement.




February 8 @ 6:30 pm
February 15 @ 9:30 pm
Event Categories:


Brenda Varda
Registration Deadline
February 7
Maximum Enrollment
Class count or Info
2 sessions: Thursdays, February 8-15, 6:30-9:30 pm