Characters • What makes a good main character
Your favorites • Lets take a look at some of your characters and see what we can identify as similarities between them.
Characters • Characters are the nervous system of the story. Everything that happens is an extension of what they do, and how they react. • Why do you think those two phrases are in bold?
Characters • A screenplay is like a noun • It’s about a PERSON, in a PLACE, doing his/her THING. • Character needs action • Must know whoyou story is about, and what happens to them.
Knowing • In order to be successful writers, you need to know what happens in all aspects of your story. • Know your character. • Know what happens to them and what they have to go through. • Know the resolution of the story so you can get that character there. • Know what the end has in store for them.
Knowing • If you don’t know how your story ends, you will have no idea how to get them there. • ACT II is filled with obstacles that pertain to your main characters actions. • Events and actions in a story are specifically designed to bring out the truth of your character, so we can achieve a connection or bond. • If you know your character you know what obstacles will have more impact
Behavior • Film is behavior. • Dialogue is secondary to action, with two purposes. • Moves the story forward • Reveals something about the main character • A character is what he does, not what he says • Determine whether the main character causes things to happen, or things happen to them.
Biography • Separate character’s life into two basic categories: • Interior Life: Everything that happened to your character from birth until the movie starts • Exterior Life: Takes place from the start of the movie to the end
Interior (biography) • The first 10 years: Birth, pre-school/elementary school, family, friends • Second 10 years: Middle school/high school, sports, political agenda, clubs, activities, friendships, relationships, sexual experience, employment, major traumatic events, etc. • Start by asking yourself “what”
Why “what” (interior) • WHAT implies a direct, definable answer: • What kind of childhood did he/she have? What was his/her relationship to their parents? What kind of child was he/she? What kind of trouble did they get into? What was home like? What kind of hobbies did he/she have? What clubs were they a part of? What was high school like for them? What college did they go to? What was their major? • Trace your character until your story starts
Interior (biography) • If you know your character inside and out, only then can you begin writing. • REMEMBER: Your character is NOT you. They may be similar, but they should be a completely different person.
Exterior (biography) • Sometimes it’s easier to separate into three categories • Professional • What is work like for them? What do they do? What do they love or hate about work? How do they get along with their co-workers, etc.
Exterior (biography) • Personal Life: • Are they married, single, widowed? How long have they been married? How did they meet? Do they fight a lot? Are they a social couple? Do they have children? How many? What are their ages? What is the family dynamic?
Exterior (biography) • Private Life: • What does your character do when they are alone? • What do they watch on TV? Do they go to the gym? How many times a week? What are they working out for? Do they take a night class? What kind of class? What sort of hobbies do they do in their free time?
Importance • The reason why we spend time on the biography, and internal information is so we have a character who lives and moves in a real, believable world. • If you get stuck on what happens next, you can look to the “real” life of that character and put them in a place that is natural for them to be.
Action • Your character is what he/she does • They need to be active • They need to do things, cause things to happen • Things can’t always happen to them. It’s not all reaction.
4 Essential Qualities • Have a strong dramatic need • What your MC wants to win, gain, get, achieve over the course of your story • Have an individual point of view • The way they see the world • Personify an attitude • A manner or opinion based on an intellectual decision • Go through some sort of change or transformation
Writing Exercise • Free write: • The goal of a free -write is try and write continuously for a set amount of time with absolutely NO stopping. There is no right or wrong, you just have to keep the pencil moving. • Today’s Free Write: • You will be given a random character description • Start to fill out the character bio packet • Packets will be due FRIDAY!