Posts tagged ‘main character’

August 18, 2011

Ten Tips for Creating a Strong Main Character

The Script Lab wrote this article offering ten simple tips for creating a lead character that is interesting enough to drive an entire 120 page script:

The most important character in your screenplay is your protagonist: your hero. It’s her story. We hope and fear for her. She’ the interesting somebody who wants something badly and is having trouble getting it. Without your hero, there is no story. But when creating that unforgettable protagonist, you must know the whole package – the entire iceberg- which is no easy task, but follow these Ten Key Rules and you’ll sculpt a hero that breaks the mold.

1. You must create an interesting protagonist, one that your audience will want to watch, hope, and fear for.

2. We don’t have to feel sympathetic toward him/her (although it is a great help), but we must at the very least feel empathy.

3. We love to see characters acting bravely, so it is not only what the character is trying to accomplish that makes us cheer for him or her, but it’s the lengths he/she is willing to go to get it. Make sure the lengths are far. We want a journey.

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August 5, 2011

Finding Your Main Character’s Arc

James Hull has written a great article on Screenplay.com about how to figure out your main character’s arc. In most cases, if your main character doesn’t have an arc, you don’t have a compelling story. Needless to say, this article is an important one to read:

Many a story begins with a great character. That flash of inspiration that says I have to write a story about this person. Yet, so many stories stall out just short of that all-important finish line. Why is that?

The answer can often be traced to misplaced focus. So much attention is placed on fleshing out the character and providing them with greater and greater sources of escalating conflict, that the basic logic of their actual arc breaks down. In fact, sometimes it’s not even there at all.

There is a simple dynamic that exists within all Main Characters, defined by the chasm between a problem and a solution.

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June 6, 2011

Moving Your Story Along with Emmy-Winner Erik Bork

Erik Bork, Emmy-winning television writer and producer was on hand at the Great American Pitchfest last weekend. He taught a great class entitled Throwing Rocks at Your Main Character: How to Keep Your Story Moving Forward. The title came from a famous George M. Cohan quote: “In the first act you get your hero up a tree. The second act, you throw rocks at him. For the third act you let him down.”

Erik underscored the fact that every feature film, regardless of the genre, needs a compelling central problem that will drive the story from beginning to end. He also noted that ‘conflict’ – which any good script should be full of – doesn’t necessarily mean interpersonal conflict, i.e. fighting. It just means problems.

Erik referred the class to Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and suggested we all become very familiar with Blake’s genres. When you know what genre you want to work within, it becomes easier to determine what elements your central problem should have and how it should develop.

Regardless of genre, Erik informed us that any script’s one central problem – and your script should just have one main problem, a problem which can’t be solved until the end and which shows up in some way or another in every scene of your script – your central problem needs to be a BITCH.

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