Q & A with Jeff Kitchen


kitchen book 2

Jeff Kitchen was classically trained in playwriting technique, specializing in the work of the groundbreaking Broadway script doctor William Thompson Price.

Jeff worked as a dramaturg in the New York theater, Playwrights Preview Productions (now Urban Stages) and taught playwriting on Broadway at the Negro Ensemble Company. He then started teaching screenwriting and has taught for over twenty years in small high-intensity hands-on groups.

He teaches the craft of the dramatist, advanced structural technique, the core of dramatic action, script analysis, and plot construction. Jeff is a sought-after script doctor, plot construction specialist, and rewrite consultant.

He has taught his techniques to development execs from all the major Hollywood studios and they consistently say that he teaches the most advanced development tools in the industry.

One of his students, Ted Melfi, was recently nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Awards for his film about the black women mathematicians at NASA, Hidden Figures.

Jeff is the author of the book, Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting. Jeff is now doing high-intensity training programs for professional scriptwriters as well as script consulting.

What’s the last thing you read or watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?

Narcos: Mexico on Netflix. It was so gripping, so watchable. Hard to believe it was true. I kept telling my wife how great it is, and said to her several times I thought it was better than The Godfather. They move through so much story in just two seasons, with so much intensity and depth, great casting and acting, great writing, and so much material to weave together. The corruption makes your blood boil; the loss, the genius, the brutality, the nobility, the adventure, the chess game, the betrayal, the power and murder and love and ambition, and the pure history—there’s so much going on and it’s so compelling.

How’d you get your start in the industry?

I was mostly self-taught. A friend who was a playwright taught me the basics of Aristotle and gave me two old obscure books on playwriting to read. They were quite fascinating and very difficult, but I spent three years studying them intensely. The guy who wrote one of them, William Thompson Price, was a pioneering Broadway script doctor for top producers pre-1920 and he founded the first school of playwriting ever in the history of the world. Twenty-four of his twenty-eight students had hits on Broadway.

Price created several seriously groundbreaking tools for the dramatist and I emerged with a mastery of what he created, then improved on them and taught these tools nonstop for twenty years. People kept saying they’d never seen anything like what I taught and said they worked better than anything they’d seen. I trained development execs at all the major Hollywood studios and they consistently said I taught the most advanced development tools in the industry. So I found these old tools and ideas for tools, and studied them like crazy, then synthesized them into their current form. I taught and consulted with them for years, and got deeply experienced with them from working hands-on with them on thousands of students’ works in progress.

What do you consider the components of a good script?

The short answer to that question is my 352-page book, Writing a Great Movie. Of course I can say something in a paragraph or two, but a proper answer can go deep and wide and long. A great premise, first of all, because if your raw idea sucks, then no amount of structure or character or storytelling elbow grease will get that clunker up in the air as a commercially viable project. In the industry, it’s called Polishing a Turd. I always say well-structured crap is still crap. So start with a great idea.

Also crucial is a good strong Dilemma of Magnitude for the protagonist, but it’s not easy in such a brief format to properly communicate how to make that one dilemma occupy the full proportion of the script, build to a Crisis, force Decision and Action in the face of crisis, and then conclude with the protagonist’s active Resolution of the dilemma. The way in which the protagonist resolves the dilemma expresses the Theme, and it’s crucial to have a solid sense of theme as you build your story. You need distinct characters who are deep and complex and colorful in various ways, and who are deeply flawed, contradictory and universal.

You need attack as a storyteller, so you’re not making safe, cliché, or stock choices. Your script must be actable and it has to be stageworthy. The action of the story must move ahead aggressively, with nothing unnecessary bogging it down. It needs good cause and effect, escalating conflict, structural unity, dramatic action, and so much more. But mostly, it has to hit the audience where they live. If it doesn’t connect to the audience, then it’s not compelling.

What are some of the most common screenwriting mistakes you see?

Weak ideas, lack of imagination, lack of attack, poor execution, poor structure, lazy storytelling, stale characters, lack of depth, lack of color, overwriting, over-describing, overbearing, too much exposition, attempting to dictate an emotional response rather than earning it, lack of empathy for the main characters, underpowered ending, doesn’t pass the So What? test, crappy dialog, boring, derivative, packs no punch, uneven tone, peters out, holes in the story’s logic, lack of conflict, no clear goal for the protagonist, stupid, a simple plot vs a complex plot, episodic, formulaic, wooden characters, preachy, predictable, miserable writing skills, lack of follow-through, writing not cinematic, story not commercially viable, no sense of vision, no entertainment value, flat dramatically, lack of magnitude.

Just to name a few.

What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

I’m not sure how many more serial killers I want to read about, or how many more procedurals, or special forces dudes, or nuclear annihilation. They can all get tiresome, but it obviously has to do with the execution, because each of them can kick serious ass when done well. But I think that things like a serial killer can be just a cardboard prop or a vastly overused excuse to write something brutal and adventurous for people who can’t or won’t do the work to go deeper and find a freakier way to mess with people’s heads.

Watch a movie like Bad Boy Bubby or Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel to see something fresh and wacko. People sleepwalk through the writing process sometimes, and it’s tedious because so many people are out there writing the same warmed-over tales. There’s probably room for a story about a serial killer who kills writers who are writing about serial killers.

What are some key rules/guidelines every writer should know?

Shake things up. You’re a writer. Do something to me, mess with my head, defy my expectations, violate my sense of how a story should go. Tell a story that really tweaks me, that seriously makes me care, that grabs me by the throat and makes me notice. Make me fall in love, or go through something unimaginable, or face death, or embrace life—but do it full tilt and do it well. I don’t need the same old tired stories coming at me all day long. I’m looking for adventure, depth, love, heartbreak, power, in any genre.

Make the overall structure for your story work first. If it does not, then the details do not matter. A beautifully written scene in a script that doesn’t work is meaningless. It’s like having an ornately finished room in a house that’s falling down. Learn to work from the general to the particular. Make the overall story work, then make each act work, then each sequence, and then each scene. You gradually develop and dramatize your work as you build it.

Learn to separate the Necessary from the Unnecessary. The work of the amateur is characterized by the Unnecessary. Dialogue and description are overwritten, scenes may not be needed, whole sequences may only be dead weight, sometimes an entire act can end up being unnecessary, and in fact your entire script may be unnecessary. Which may sound funny, but it’s not. The Unnecessary kills scripts. Most scripts are unreadable—and that means 98% of them—UN-READ-ABLE. Atrocious. And in many instances, the Unnecessary plays a major part in how unreadable it is. Clean, crisp cause and effect separates the Necessary from the Unnecessary, and moves the action of the story ahead crisply and cleanly.

Master the craft of the dramatist. Dramatic writing is generally considered the most elusive of all the literary disciplines. It’s tricky, it’s slippery, it’s hard to pin down, hard to predict, and hard to diagnose or cure. But the more craft you’ve got, the more mastery you have in addressing every type of problem. People forget that scriptwriting is a performance medium—intended to be acted out in front of an audience in such a way that it’s gripping. So take the time to really learn your craft, to master it. Because almost doesn’t count, and people don’t want to read scripts that could have been good but the writer didn’t have the chops to make it work.

Take the time to build or discover deep, complex, dynamic, unpredictable, flawed, dimensional characters. Explore the Enneagram (EnneagramInstitute.com is a great resource) for each of your main characters because it’s such a remarkably powerful resource. A mixture of ancient wisdom about human nature and cutting-edge psychology, it purports that there are nine basic personality types, and each of these types has a healthy aspect, an average aspect, and unhealthy aspects. This helps you go deep and complex, to develop substantial flaws, hidden strengths, the mechanics of failure, a path to greatness, and complex, sophisticated human emotional reality.

What was the inspiration/motivation for your book Writing A Great Movie?

I wanted to get down on paper the know-how I’d accrued from teaching non-stop for eighteen years while it was still white hot. I had always taught small hands-on classes, maximum six people, and each person had to bring a script idea with them to develop so I could really get them using the tools. This helped them not only learn how to use the tools, but their scripts improved so much in the process that word of mouth on my classes was through the roof. I never taught large groups because the material was too complex. I knew that if I just talked at people about sophisticated techniques without showing them how to really use the tools that it would be mostly useless, because they couldn’t go home and use it to build their own script.

But when they started doing a big Screenwriter’s Expo in LA, they dragged me into teaching 150 people at a time. And there were riots outside my classroom of people trying to get in, so I realized that with this many people having heard about my training, it was time to write my book. So I cranked one out and self-published it by the next year’s Expo and sold a lot of them. I shopped that version and it got me a lit agent in New York who got me a publishing deal at Watson Guptill where two phenomenal editors helped bring out the best in my writing.

There are a lot of screenwriting books out there. What about this one makes it unique?

Not only are the tools unique, unusual and powerful, but I worked hard to emulate the hands-on aspect of my small classes in which I worked with each participant on their script as I explained the tools. So I explain, illustrate, and demonstrate each of seven tools in the first half of the book, and then I build a real script from scratch in the second half of the book, using all the tools. I start with a one-line idea and build the whole script, demonstrating the full use of the tools as I utilize them to create, develop, structure and write it.

Because I was rewriting the self-published edition, my editor wanted to clean up the second half of the book. I argued, saying that it had to remain unvarnished because the process of using these tools to create from scratch is necessarily messy. I needed it to remain fumbling and exploratory and rough, because cobbling a story together and dramatizing it is like feeling your way along in the dark. And I wanted to show them the raw reality, not the cleaned-up varnished version.

In the introduction to part two, I say that the first half of the book is as different from the second half as training in medical school is from working in an Emergency Room, or as studying a bear in the zoo is from wrestling one in the wilderness. I jump from tool to tool bootstrapping the story into existence, using Dilemma, the Enneagram, the 36 Dramatic Situations, Crisis, Theme, Research and Brainstorming all at the same time. And then I put the story through two structural tools, the Central Proposition and Sequence, Proposition, Plot, which help dramatize the narrative, strip out everything that’s unnecessary to the forward action of the story, and create consistent, coherent, compelling Dramatic Action.

I build the whole script with my readers looking over my shoulder, and I think it did a good job of showing the tools in action in order to give the reader genuine know-how and experience in utilizing the tools.

How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?

The top five or ten are definitely worth it and have launched many careers. I myself wouldn’t bother with many others, but it totally depends on what you’re up to as a writer. If you just want to put your stuff out there to see what people think of it, then you can use it as a learning opportunity. But you can also just hire somebody to give you notes on your script and that might give you more specific feedback. But there are books and websites that can help you sort the contests for value, and people who know everything about them, and they’re definitely worth taking a look at as part of a career strategy.

How can people find out more about you and the services you provide?

My website is BuildYourScript.com and I can be contacted through there or directly at jeffkitchen88@gmail.com. I offer a free class on Reverse Cause and Effect at my site. This is a powerful class that shows how to take a story you’ve roughed out and work backward from the ending, chaining backward from each effect to its cause. This enables you to stitch together the main building blocks of your story, and then to gradually flesh out the details as they become necessary. I demonstrate the process in action by working on a real script.

There’s also a paid class on a remarkably powerful plot construction tool called Sequence, Proposition, Plot which is a groundbreaking way to structure and develop your script, working from the big picture down to the details. I do consults on scripts as well as private classes on technique. One of the coolest things I do is to help people build their script from scratch, or to work with them rebuilding it once they’ve gotten a script up and running.

I’m about to roll out a high-intensity training program for scriptwriters that I’m really excited about. It’s an online immersion program in which I train apprentices for a year as we work together building multiple scripts. We’ll work two hours a day, plus one hour of homework, five days a week. In what’s called a Community of Practice, I communicate know-how through using the tools to build real scripts on the spot, and I also have students do extensive drills and rigorous exercises, handling the tools, practicing them over and over, and learning to think in that language until it all becomes second nature.

This type of learning process is called Cognitive Apprenticeship, in which writers work hand-in-glove with me to learn how to think like me. I communicate both explicit knowledge and the more ambiguous but crucial tacit knowledge, that feel for things which is indispensable for full expertise. This will be a high-intensity program, similar to a trade school, followed by a year in which I work with these highly-trained writers on building their own scripts. They will emerge as trained dramatists with key skills and experience, who can forge a career as working writers.

Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

It’s hard to pick, but right now I’d have to go with cherry.

cherry pie 2

Guaranteed to last forever

And it all starts with this guy
Something just a little different and of a somewhat personal nature today.

In the summer of 1982, I went to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

With my dad.

At a night-time show (probably the 7:30 one).

As a thunderstorm raged outside (typical south Jersey summer weather conditions).

It was a great night.

All of these elements combined to make what was one of the most memorable times I’ve ever had at the movies. What made it that way? I can’t say specifically, but it just was.

It’s still something I will truly never forget. If I ever get to meet Nicholas Meyer, I’ll make a point of telling him that.

Maybe someday a dad and his son or daughter will go to see a movie I wrote, and that child will experience the same sensation I did: the creation of a memory they cherish for the rest of their life.

(Whether or not they tell me about it in their adult years is beside the point, but I wouldn’t object.)

What writer wouldn’t want to have their work be the basis for something like that?

And now I’m a dad who enjoys going to the movies with my child. Could history repeat itself and we see a movie, and we have a great time, and it’s something she’ll remember for the rest of her life?

So far, it hasn’t happened yet (as far as I know).

But it sure is fun to keep trying.

Ask a Talent-of-Colossal-Proportions Script Consultant!

Barri Evins

The latest in a series of interviews with script readers and consultants who would be worth your while to work with if you want to get your script in shape. Today’s spotlight is on Barri Evins of Big Ideas.

1. What’s the last thing you read/watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?

A few contest scripts impress me each year. I wrote about one that swept me off my feet in my ScriptMag.com Column: Breaking & Entering – Great Writing – A Love Story. A good rewrite from a writer I was consulting with who made a huge leap between drafts. In terms of what I’ve watched, it’s TV that’s knocked my socks off of late.

2. How’d you get your start reading scripts?

In kindergarten. Well, practically. Grew up reading plays and studying theatre. Convinced that background would be an albatross around my neck in the film business. I was trying to get my first industry job after moving to Los Angeles, and a lit agent my brother was friends with from a fraternity connection set me up on interviews. He gave me a script that was on its way to becoming a major movie with an A-list actor and told me to do story notes on it as a sample. I did a pretty good job of it, and impressed some folks in meetings, but wound up working at the agency. It was grueling in terms of amount of work and amount of hours, but I read a ton in features and in TV, and I learned a ton. In eight months (that’s pretty fast) I moved on to a Development Associate job and then Story Editor for writer/producers Bruce Evans and Raynold Gideon where I learned a ton and read so much my distance vision deteriorated! Ironically, it was the theatre degree that helped win me the job.

3. Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?

I always believed that it could be taught, as I’ve taught coverage to literally jillions of interns, many of whom have gone on to be very successful in the industry, as well as part of a course I taught at the UCLA Graduate Producing Program. However, I had one very lovely intern who simply could not tell good writing from, well, dreck. It was like being colorblind. She got a little encouragement from me to look into other areas of the industry and became a successful publicist.

4. What are the components of a good script?

A great concept, that delivers on the promise of the premise, with strong storytelling. Yum.

5. What are some of the most common mistakes you see?

Oy. Here’s my current bone to pick – I call it “Too Much Tinsel On Your Tree.” The overcomplicated story where the writer has crammed in so much that we simply don’t know what’s going on. Diagnosis of that syndrome can be found here in a guest blog by my dear friend, Dr. Paige Turner, who steps in and answers writers’ sticky questions in a column she likes to call, “S-E-X Tips for Screenwriters.”

6. What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

If I never, ever, ever read another story where something happens to make the main character revisit their small hometown after 20 years absence, I would be thrilled. That said, I will probably come across a terrific one now that I’ve gone on record with this. But I somehow doubt it.

7. What are the 3 most important rules every writer should know?

Outline, outline, and get an outside opinion, preferably from a professional because you’re just too close to your own work and your mom thinks everything you do is “just terrific, honey.”

8. Have you ever read a script that was an absolute, without-a-doubt “recommend”? If so, could you give the logline?

Yup, but the execution was horrid, I mean terrible on almost every count, and my company couldn’t get our studio to buy it based on the great concept. Another studio wound up doing it, but took it in the complete wrong direction. So I’d rather not share the logline. Sorry.

9. How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?

Depends on the contest and what the writer is looking to achieve. I used to write a column on screenwriting contests for MovieBytes.com – a terrific, free online source of info on contests by writers. I’d ask questions of judges I think writers would want to ask, so I know a bit about contests from different angles.

10. How can people get in touch with you to find out more about the services you provide?

I consult on everything from loglines to screenplays to queries, as well as offer custom packages and mentorship. My website is www.bigBIGideas.com, which includes my consulting page, where you have the opportunity to “Pitch Me For Free” and get a thumbs up or down on a concept.

11. Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

Key Lime, baby. I’m a Florida girl.

Ask a Book-Writing Script Consultant!

howard casner

The latest in a series of interviews with script readers and consultants who would be worth your while to work with if you want to get your script in shape. Today’s spotlight is on Howard Casner, who has written an e-book about his experiences – More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, and also hosts the podcast Pop Art.

1. What’s the last thing you read/watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?

Right now, screenwriting and moviemaking in the U.S. are at a crisis point. Very little is being done that is interesting or exciting. Most of it is bland, boring, or even if entertaining, falls short of a real success when it comes to quality. I feel we are treading water, waiting for a group of filmmakers and writers to come rescue us. We are in need of a new wave.

The film with the strongest screenplay this year so far has been BORGMAN, a movie from the Netherlands about someone who is pure evil worming himself into the household of an upper middleclass family. It is what I call a WTF film, strange and imaginative with strong characters and fascinating story.

However, my favorite movie of the year so far is UNDER THE SKIN, a sci-fi movie made in Scotland about an alien who seduces men to a house where they are then killed for fodder for another planet. Both are highly original, something that I feel is often missing from American films.  Right now, the two countries producing the most interesting and exciting movies are South Korea and Romania.

2. How’d you get your start reading scripts?

Before I moved to L.A. in 2001, I was in the theater and read scripts constantly. But once here, I met someone in a coffee shop who let me use him as an intro to the person in charge of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition.

After doing a sample coverage (which worried me because I didn’t like the screenplay, but it had won an award the year before), I was taken on. That year I discovered the first place screenplay, Song of Silence by Miranda Kwok, at the last minute and for a few years after that kept discovering the first place winner.

This then gave me the background to get work, also through connections, at Here! Networks and Final Draft Big Break Screenplay Contest.

3. Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?

You can be taught to find screenplays that whoever is paying you wants to find. They give you a list of criteria and you can probably get by on that.

Recognizing good writing has some element of instinct to it. You need the ability to create a vision inside your head of whatever is described and hear the voices of the characters, which to some degree, is something you either can do or you can’t.

You also need to have as large a background in seeing movies and reading screenplays as you can. The more you read, the more movies you’ve seen, the easier it is to recognize what is new and original, and you can weed out what is formulaic and has been done many times before. And, of course, you really need to be able to do this and be a fast reader (some people are slower readers than others and that can be a problem).

4. What are the components of a good script?

One problem is that what “good” means can vary from person to person. I see the words “great” and “good” often used to describe screenplays and I’m not quite sure what they mean in the context of the person writing.

If you mean “good” in that commerciality is irrelevant and the screenplay has inherent quality apart from box office and other practical considerations (which is how I use the term), then the most important component nine times out of ten are characters (there are always exceptions). Without strong and vibrant characters, almost nothing else matters. You can have the most original high concept in the world, but with flat and uninteresting characters, I won’t care.

But after that, you need a screenplay that is readable and clear with an interesting plot (though, again, interesting is ambiguous; what is fascinating to one person is a bore to another).

But perhaps even more important, a good screenplay is one written by someone who has a vision, a voice, something to say, who writes from the heart, from a need to get a story out there.

5. What are some of the most common mistakes you see?

Besides the obvious, which is a screenplay that is horrendously formatted, or is almost unreadable, a story that is hard to follow and understand, with novelistic and literary narrative rather than focused and to the point narrative, and screenplays by people who don’t seem to understand the basic concept as to how to write a screenplay in the first place…

I would first have to say that it would include screenplays written according to formula, to a structure they got from a book or guru, screenplays written by people who have nothing to say and don’t have a real, interior reason to write a screenplay. That’s why the first of my ten commandments for screenwriters is to not read a book, or take a class, or use a guru in writing a screenplay until after you have written two or three first.

Beyond that, it’s screenplays that are concept and plot driven rather than character driven; overcomplicated plots; and screenplays written about a subject matter (like crime and espionage thrillers) where the writer hasn’t done the research.

Some of my pet peeves: characters not going to the police when the opportunity presents itself; cell phones lost, conveniently destroyed or losing power; not using social media when it would resolve a situation in no time; female roles that are underdeveloped, or in which women are humiliated for no reason; using lack of insurance as a plot motivator (by the time the movie gets made, the ACA may make many of these plot turns outdated). I could go on.

6. What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

The romcom where a woman just feels her life is incomplete unless she is married, or at least in a serious relationship and that is her main goal; as a corollary to that, women characters who can only be defined by their emotional relationship to men; a group of people, especially teens or young adults, getting stuck in the middle of nowhere attacked by country folk; screenplays that are about being gay, rather than have a central character who just happens to be gay (especially coming out stories).

As a corollary to this, stories that start with grabber scenes (they are a cliché and they almost never really intrigue me), especially if the grabber scene is a dream or someone being chased through some woods.

7. What are the 3 most important rules every writer should know?

-That the quality of the script might not help you in and of itself and the better quality it is, the harder it might be to ever get the screenplay produced.

-As a corollary to the above, it’s who you know, not how well written your screenplay is, that can make the difference (though your screenplay has to have some modicum of skill to it, or just about nothing matters).

-The way movies are getting made (at least in the U.S.) is changing. You may have to do your first screenplay yourself, and if so, do something new, original and with a vision.

I will add one additional rule: learn how to format a screenplay and learn how to write a screenplay that is a smooth and easy read. This last is far more important than new writers ever seem to want to admit. I don’t know why, but they’ll often be open to any other suggestions, but bristle when I mention their formatting and narrative.

That is why my second commandment for writers is that the exception to reading a book on playwriting is that you must read a book on formatting; no exceptions.  Your narrative can always be reduced by 10 to 20% and will not only not hurt the screenplay, but probably benefit it.

8. Have you ever read a script that was an absolute, without-a-doubt “recommend”? If so, could you give the logline?

Many. Every year I read quite a few of those. I can’t really comment on any I’ve read for current contests, since the contests are still ongoing, but one that I still don’t understand why it hasn’t ever been made is “The most successful television personality that a Middle Eastern country has ever seen has to flee the country after a revolution; years later, working in a bar in Germany, he is given the chance to reclaim his glory if he will just publicly apologize for every negative thing he has ever said about the new regime”.

9. How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?

It’s not so much whether they are worth it. Based on the way things work in the U.S. right now, and the way the economy is working, they are sort of a necessary evil.

This may sound odd coming from someone who makes a living doing coverage and reading for contests, but if you can bypass contests and readers for companies and agencies completely, and get to the sources themselves, to the immediate people who can make a film and get those persons to read your script, do that.

But getting to the position where you can do that takes a lot of time and in the meanwhile, you need to find ways to get some sort of resume and approval of your writing, and screenplay contests are a place to start.

At the same time, there’s little point in entering a contest unless you have a screenplay that has been honed and worked on and is getting positive responses from others. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money away.

10. How can people get in touch with you to find out more about the services you provide?

For more detailed and full information about myself and my coverage services, go to my blog Rantings and Ravings.

I’m also offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00 USD. For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you. I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one.

And of course, my e-book More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader can be purchased on Amazon.

11. Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

When I was young, my family would make Lemon Chiffon and Chocolate Pie, which were my favorites. I’m not a big fan of hard crust pies. I prefer things like cheesecake.