Developing main characters



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Developing main characters

    What are some of the techniques you use to develop your main characters?

  • #2
    A typical screenplay is resolving a conflict. I start with the plot.

    I develop several main characters that can realistically resolve the conflict; man, woman, age, etc. I add to each character and decide which one is most interesting. I decided on a widowed grandmother in my first script.


    • #3
      One of the techniques I use is to put my characters in various scenarios (after I've worked out all of the backstory, character sketches, etc.) that have nothing to do with the story or land of the screenplay they inhabit/create. I also like to imagine my characters in other movies, or other, perhaps opposite genres. How would the movie be different...?

      Another technique I use to develop them for the particular story they're involved in is one that I outlined in another thread...essentially I write a synopses of the story from each of the main character's povs, including their thoughts on various other characters, situations, etc. and their emotional reactions. It gets you thinking of each character as a human being with his/her own perspective who thinks that he/she is the "protagonist" of your story. Thus, it forces you to look at each character as protagonist, and driving force, rather than a "slave to the story". Secondary characters, are also seen as more than just playing off of the main character's actions.


      • #4
        hey tony!

        great advice man. thats a perfectly splendid idea! thanx!


        • #5
          Char. Dev.

          I always start out with "observing" the characters in my mind. As a fellow artist, I'm sure you know what I mean. The observation is never general; I choose several locales/scenarios in which they need to appear for the sake of the plot, then I think of them all in the same situations that arise from that. Pubs, bedrooms, public events, etc. Then I "watch" them. Take notes on what they do, what they say, how they react. Simply analyzing how someone orders a drink and takes it back to their table can be of great benefit, and insight. Even if that drink contains no alcohol.

          From there, I go into specifics. What would the character (s) wear during these moments? How would the OTHER main characters react to that clothing? Moreover, how would they react to the subliminal statements made by that clothing being worn in that locale/time in particular? Dressing as a T-Punk or a New Mod at a concert is one thing; doing so at a picnic held for PETA is another...

          Hopefully helpful, kosk


          • #6
            Re: Char. Dev.

            It's like the old chicken-and-the-egg adage -- do your characters drive your story, or is it the other way around? I tend to support the latter view, although my attitude about writing is "never say never" to any wild-arse ideas you may have. (oops, hope I didn't violate any profanity rules there!)

            A film like "Harold and Maude" shows me that main characters can spring from just about anywhere. Just let it flow...


            • #7
              Wassup Dawg.

              I introduce my characters to Sonsy.

              Sonsy is a crippled rat-terrier with advanced cataracts and malnutrition. A storm has just blown over town. Sustained winds of 60mph have guided this poor canine to a character's doorstep. When they open the door to investigate obnoxious scratching noises, and find Sonsy shivering before them, I begin their journal. For a week, I develop their journal from this catalyst.

              I've found a controlled experiment, with a like starting point, is the perfect method of development. Putting them into scenarios from a plot outline, I've never found to be helpful. If I haven't developed them before diving into the potential film, I only succeed in convincing myself of their invalidity.

              It is important I get to know them outside of the film world.

              -- Gore


              • #8
                Re: Wassup Dawg.

                My angle, I put them in an interview on 20/20. She asks all the questions and my characters answer them, sounds corny but I tell you what nothing pushes my story and character developement along faster than some questions from that lady.