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Supercharge your characters while minimizing the work in creating them! This week host Gray Jones asks authors Christopher and Kathy Riley all about their new book, The Defining Moment.


The best storytelling explores character formation and transformation. Sometimes the shaping of characters takes place in slow, smooth, steadily bending arcs, other times in sudden, jagged, cataclysmic moments. Without discovering these moments, it’s impossible for an actor or writer to fully realize their character. In The Defining Moment: How Writers and Actors Build Characters, screenwriters and story gurus Christopher and Kathy Riley share the secret to creating character-defining moments—moments without which the character couldn’t exist, and through which characters transform before our eyes. 


Christopher Riley is a professional screenwriter who cowrote with his wife Kathy Riley the award-winning German language film “After the Truth.” The Rileys have written scripts for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Mandalay Television Pictures, Sean Connery’s Fountainbridge Films, and Robert Cort Productions. Christopher produced the action-thriller “Red Line” and executive produced the web series “Bump+.” He began his career as a proofreader in the standard-setting script processing department at Warner Bros., a department he eventually rose to manage. He is the former director of the Act One Hollywood Writing Program, the author of the classic screenplay format guide The Hollywood Standard, an instructor of screenwriting at the undergraduate and graduate levels, a founding partner of Story Masters Film Academy, and a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America West. 

Kathy Riley cowrote the award-winning feature film “After the Truth.” In addition to her work as a writer for Touchstone Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Mandalay Television Pictures, Fountainbridge Films, and Robert Cort Productions, Kathy holds a master’s degree in public health and is a certified health education specialist. She serves as vice president of family support for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and has worked extensively on behalf of families of children diagnosed with brain tumors. She also holds a certification of professional achievement in narrative medicine from Columbia University and is a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America West.

Follow Christopher on Twitter: @hwoodstandard

Follow Kathy on Instagram: @kathywecan


Click on “The Defining Moment: How Writers and Actors Build Characters” and “The Hollywood Standard” to buy on Amazon.


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Avatar Gray Jones

Author: Gray Jones

Graham “Gray” Jones is a seasoned TV editor/writer located in Valencia, California (on the northern outskirts of LA). He has an honors Screenwriting BFA from York University, where he graduated with distinction in 1994.

He hosted one of the world’s leading TV-themed podcasts, "Chuck vs. the Podcast," about NBC’s Chuck, and currently hosts the "TV Writer Podcast," in partnership with Script Magazine.

He runs several companies, including,, and Check them out!