Screenwriting : CHARACTERS - friends, relatives, acquaintances! by Stevan Šerban

Stevan Šerban

CHARACTERS - friends, relatives, acquaintances!

When you create a character in your story do you observe people around you?

Stevan Šerban

Did you "steal" characteristics of your friends and give them your characters?

CJ Walley

Yes, all the time. Also do it with celebrities and people on the reality tv shows I watch.

Stevan Šerban

Hi CJ! Whether you choose one strong personality traits or combining different people?

CJ Walley

Generally I take the whole personality as I see it. Sometimes I just take their behaviour. Sometimes I take their speech patterns. It's dangerous territory and I tread carefully. Really we need to create characters that leverage the most out of their dynamic with the cast and the story, so staying too close to a real person may be selling ourselves short. I tend to take a person as a reference and amplify the areas I think are needed the most. Keep in mind I still have my training wheels on though. I believe more experienced writers know how to pull great, multi-dimensional characters straight out their imagination.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

Survivor and Big Brother are like a cheat sheet for screenwriters. It's like a pot-luck for personalities.

Stevan Šerban

What is it that most "stealing" from people you know, or you observe and than give this to your characters? Speech, behavior, nature...

Beth Fox Heisinger

I tend to use my imagination when creating characters, but I am influenced by everything around me. I blend various impressions from different sources. After a while a character forms in my mind. I never "cast" someone, an actor or a person I know, as I'm working, developing a character, because that can confuse things. However, once my character is completely solidified then I enjoy thinking about various actors who would be great in that role. One can dream, yes?

Richard Allis

I'm an observer of people. I used to study people a lot more, but would again if I found somebody remarkably different than other people. I would take an aspect from one person, sometimes combining it with aspects from other people, and develop the character I needed. I also do this a lot with aspects of my own personality. But generally, this was just to start off with the first draft. As I would rewrite stuff, the characters would become more their own people. Doing what I needed them to do.

Stevan Šerban

Beth, when you imagine your character, can you hear what he's saying? Does he speak fluently? Does he stutters? Did he talk much or is he shy? Did he curse? Whether he uses phrases? Is he real smart or thought that silence is golden?

Stevan Šerban

Richard, when you polish your character whether he reminds you of someone?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Stevan. No, I don't "hear" anything I start with impressions. How that person may feel, behave, think. What's happening. What has happened to them in the past. I think a lot about theme first and then form characters around it. I love psychology and behavioral studies. I enjoy profiling, study it a little. People watching is a past time of mine. :) If I know some parameters about my character's situation, culture and physical environment I can then create personal attributes and personality traits. I think about characters for a long long time before I write anything. I work a lot out in my head. Their "voice" is the last thing I discover. :)

Richard Allis

Messed up on my first try at this comment. Parts of the character may remind me of someone after I'm finished polishing. But not the whole character. One character might actually remind me of a couple different people, myself included. But the more I rewrite a script, the less it seems like that person I "borrowed" from. But I still remember who it was I borrowed from . . . at least for a while. -- But I don't do this as much as I once did.

Stevan Šerban

Hi Beth! I think that is a good way to discover your character. When I imagine my character does not act as an observer, but it immediately make him to talk. The way he talks will present his character. That's why I keep listening to the people around me talking and reveal their inner world.

Stevan Šerban

Hi Richard, If you recognise some person in you character this is good. Part of the personality that you recognize in your character means that your character alive for you but also for the audience.

Allen Clark

I think that's how most characters are developed through interaction of others and those you may know..

Anthony Moore

Of course! Its the only way to bring realism to our characters. We inherit traits and speech patterns and pass them on in our writing. Art mimics life.

Winter Maza

oh hell yea. there a t-shirt out know that says "Careful or you'll end up in my screenplay"..........and i'm thinking, Too late

Wesley Tallant

I draw on people I know to give the people in my books character. In fact, one of the characters in one of my books got killed off. I had named him after my brother and he got mad at me for killing him off.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

When I create a character, often I give them things I never had and yearn for.

Renat Hamzin

I was used to name stories' characters using real names from my circles - for joke that they will never know - and now I am sorry for that. =) I can't explain why but this is wrong, in all ways. In fact, creative work already represent author's life, not directly, and using real names is some kind of rough step.

Steven Fussell

I wish I had the time to spend observing people!I'm sure my dialogue and writing will improve when I do. For now I mostly have faith that my subconscious is drawing on all my past experiences.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Stevan.... I don't worry about it when I'm writing the first draft. After that I give each main character 2-3 main traits and 1 opposite trait. I draw traits from different people I know and combine them... so they'll never know... :-)) Eventually the character's (dialogue) practically writes itself... after a few rewrites.

Trey Wickwire

Absolutely! I love to people watch and I believe that all characters are composites observed behavior. Even if we think we are creating something whole cloth its coming from something we have seen, heard or read. I also think that all the characters I create have at least a smidgen of myself in them somewhere.

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