Lizzy Bentley

Lizzy Bentley

Lizzy Bentley is an award winning screenwriter and producer, and founder of Story By Design. She’s currently producing Radegund, the new Terrence Malick film. Her past work has been invited to Cannes, Sundance, the Berlinale, the Film Society at Lincoln Center and MoMA. In 2007 her screenwriting for Nanking was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award and short-listed for an Academy Award in the documentary feature category.

In the digital sphere, Lizzy’s broad experience in research, narrative strategy, and her ability to craft engagement out of users latent desires and expectations has led her to develop unique methods for designing and evaluating digital experience for emotional impact. Clients include Farmers Insurance, Rubin Postaer and Associates, the O’Neal Strategy Group, the Information Architecture Institute and General Communications. Lizzy received her Masters of Fine Arts at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and her Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University.

[Mini-Workshop] Writing for Emotional Resonance: Applying the Principles of Screenwriting to Writing for Conversational User Interfaces


In writing dialogue for chatbots and sculpting experiences with voice interfaces, a fundamental challenge you’ll face is how to create content designed to engage with people in a way that feels spontaneous, natural, and satisfying. What tenor, form, and cadence should you aim for? How do you define it and how do you create it? Human memory, decision-making processes, and the way you create meaning all rely on emotion — an input chatbots don’t have. So how can you use chatbots to craft emotionally-engaging experiences?

This workshop with Cruce Saunders and Beth Weaving will repurpose the strategies of screenwriting to provide a powerful set of heuristics for chatbot and voice interface writing. You will learn to translate basic principles of dramatic construction for use in creating and evaluating successful interactions. You’ll see the principles in action; illustrated with film and digital examples, as well as brief exercises. You’ll leave understanding the importance of character, backstory, structure, sequence, momentum, exposition, tone, rhythm, and resolution.

Note: This workshop is premised on the belief that what we want is not for our chatbots to be more human, but for them to recognize that we are. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, you’ll learn to harness strategies that lead to emotional resonance so your chatbots can speak to your needs—and the needs of your prospects and customers—in a more human way.