Screenwriting : Character - short-form. by Vander McLeod

Vander McLeod

Character - short-form.

First, have you written up your character in great detail? What makes them tick, goals, background, etc.

A checklist can be found here

You are putting your powerpoint together, so you want to have one character per page. Now, this is not a powerpoint that you would send directors or producers; this is simply for you.

This short-form does not include depth, in particular, "depth" taken from things happening within the movie that affect your character, etc. It is also not a character analysis.

Short-form, write each character into three paragraphs, on one page only.

Each paragraph focuses on something. This is an easy "go-to" for remembering particular focus points regarding your characters.

Let's say the first paragraph focuses on who they are, age, gender, place of birth, colour, job, and marital status.

The second part focuses on their skills, personality, achievements, background, etc.

Lastly, what are the character's goals, walls, and tragedies? How will he get there, what drives him, what is trying to stop him, that he must overcome, etc.

Rutger Oosterhoff

A full character analysis is very useful. Give them a background. Probably the best film t o show this is "Unbreakable".

Stephen Floyd

Don’t get too fixated on background. Usually the difference between drama and melodrama is what’s happening to a character and what happened to a character.

Craig D Griffiths

I do things in service of the story. I recently rewrote a character from a savvy 16 year old girl to a intellectually disabled 14 year old.

All in service of the story.

Characters are tools, just like buildings.

Peter Roberts

Sensible approach Vander. I do not think many appreciate to write about anything meaningfully usually requires far more knowledge of the person or subject than is eventually shared. Applies to everything including screenwriting.

Beth Fox Heisinger

To each their own, everyone has their own process. This sort of thing seems rather extra busywork that may or may not be relevant nor truly informative in creating three-dimensional characters for film/screenwriting. Depends. This exercise seems for novelists, perhaps? Works with a much higher number of pages, different forms with large word counts and lots and lots of details. Dunno? Sure, developing a profile list of sorts with individual stats can help organize your thoughts, suss out characters, and help you to focus on a subject matter or world-building or situations or external conflicts. But what makes characters come "alive" is emotional truth and agency, and motivations. Authenticity. Who they are, not just what they are. My two cents, I tend to focus on what serves the story, what is relevant to it. I also like to work intuitively. Succinctly. I tend to think about the core of a character, first, then all the surface, external stuff. Again, to each their own. ;) Best to you!

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