Writing a successful screenplay requires an understanding of character creation as well as character development. As much as we writers like to believe our words are sacred and story comes first, the reality is, writing a screenplay is simply the first step in creating a final product for studios to market. To increase your odds of getting produced, you need to attract top talent who will put an audience in the seats – that’s the fastest way to a green light. Creating characters that actors want to play is a must.
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The protagonist drives not only your story, but also the box-office draw. To attract an A-list actor, you need to create a character who is multilayered and fascinating to play. Great roles equal potential awards. Think about award-winning actors. The characters those actors embodied were multilayered with compelling character arcs. That’s what you need to create in your screenplays
Some writers struggle with how to develop characters. The kiss of death of any script is when a writer doesn’t push themselves to hone their character development writing style.
A character bio and character sketches will give you the basics, but they won’t push your character to where they need to be to achieve their outer goal. A dynamic character must have both an outer goal and an inner journey. It’s only when the protagonist evolves his inner wounds that s/he can achieve the goal the audience is rooting for.
Character development and audience satisfaction go hand in hand.
To help you find new plot points for your story, you need to know the characters’ wounds that lay deep inside their psyche. Use those wounds to create a character arc by pushing them to their breaking point. For it is only at one’s breaking point that internal change happens.
A pivotal point in any story is when the protagonist vs. the antagonist. When two characters with their own unique wounds come face to face, the possibilities for conflict are endless.
Think about things such as indirect characterization, where your character is revealed by speech and action. For example, the way someone behaves under pressure reveals a lot about who they are inside. Do they panic? Are they brave? Do they face a challenge or cower to it? Indirect characterization can draw an actor to a role more than direct characterization, where you describe the character description with adjectives.
But don’t rule out the importance of character description. Often times that’s the first page an actor’s agent flips to in order to see if they’re interested in relaying your script to the actor.
Now, imagine you are the actor reading the screenplay. What would you conclude about that role? What would draw you to it? Would you beg your agent to get you this part?
In our FREE webinar, Jeanne explains importance of characterization and how to bring your story to a higher quality by diving deep into your characters’ heads to help them evolve and succeed in their goals.
Learn how to give Hollywood what they want… great characters actors will beg to play.