‘Telling a story’: Screenwriter speaks at Creative Writing Reading Series


Damon Stone

Screenwriter William Akers presents in Cherry Hall on Monday, Feb. 6.

Damon Stone, News reporter

The WKU English department hosted William Akers as a part of their Creative Writing Reading Series on Monday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in Cherry Hall.

Akers is the author of “Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways to Make it Great,” has written three feature films and taught screenwriting at Vanderbilt University. 

“I had [originally] wanted to be a cartoonist, which is a frame just like a movie, but the kind of cartooning I wanted to do didn’t exist anymore, which was a newspaper strip,” Akers said. “[…] I switched to movies, and I liked to write, because it was still a frame and telling a story.” 

Akers presented his love for filmmaking by showing clips from the French movie “La Femme Nikita” and its American remake, showing the contrast between the two. 

“Every movie you see, you’re going to learn something about writing,” Akers said. “I didn’t have a favorite writer, other than maybe Billy Wilder, or Preston Sturges […] Whatever interests me is what I’m interested in, and it’s different for every script I’ve ever written; I’ve written children’s films, I’ve written thrillers, I’ve written war movies, all kinds of stuff, whatever is appealing to me in the moment.” 

Akers also stated he was primarily interested in people and what their problems are. 

“You want someone who’s in the crusher,” Akers said. “It’s not going to be interesting to the audience if the hero’s not having a great big huge problem. That could be someone in a divorce, or it could be someone who’s trying to escape from a city that’s being burned to the ground; different people have different kinds of problems, certainly.” 

Ultimately, Akers urged the audience to watch “a lot of movies” and television, in addition to reading books on screenwriting, and to keep practicing. 

More information about Akers’ work can be found on his website, which has free writing resources. 

News reporter Damon Stone can be reached at [email protected].