SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE PART 3
It is not easy being a scriptwriter. Not only do you now have to come up with amazing ideas that are both interesting and understandable, a story that does not offend the easily offended and write about your subjects and scenarios with an all most unfathomable expertise, you also have the job of creating a character an audience can relate to.
It is not an easy job to write a character that is both original and identifiable, a character that has his or her flaws just like everybody else, but also has qualities that make an audience look up to and idolise them with a character that in the end, becomes a better person.
But where do we even begin to think of these characters?
As a writer, you sit there with your fifth cup of coffee cooling next to you and endless amounts of snacks with copious amounts of sugar surrounding your cluttered desk of screwed up bits of paper and novelty pencils. A new Word document stays open on your fingerprint smudged screen. The curser, blinking every so often, taunts you.
To spark some ideas you consider searching the internet for something, anything that will help you come up with a character that everyone will love, but as time passes, you find yourself looking at Vines and funny cat videos on YouTube, and even though these habits are harder to shake than a long term drug habit , we have come up with five ideas to help you come up with believable, likable and original characters.
Surprisingly, the method of using star signs to invent the personalities of your characters is widely used by many authors and script writers. Using the already set-out template of good and bad personality traits can help a writer expand and improve their character. For example, if your character were to be a Capricorn, they would be confident, energetic and courageous and if he or she were to be a Scorpio, maybe you can give them a temper?
Instead of sitting at your desk in a dark and suspicious smelling dorm room, why not go outsideand sit at a table at the local cafe or a park, and just watch. Hundreds of people pass through every day, each with their very own little personal traits and appearances. You would be very surprised at how much you notice when you just sit and observe.
Basing your characters on famous people or famous characters is a great way to create a likable character that is relatable and familiar to the audience. People are more inclined to like a character if it reminds them of their role models.
However, remember not to copy everything about your chosen person, it is still your character.
Draw from your own experiences
Basing a character around people you have met, people you know or people you don’t even like can be an extremely effective way to create a fresh new character with interesting personality traits. Just don’t use their real name.
I once based a character on my Father, and even though he started out as a grumpy old man, as the script developed, the character evolved and become a much more likeable and three dimensional character. Even if you only have an outline of your character, if you are good at what you do, they will grow into something great.
Not everybody can do it, and in my opinion, it is the least effective on this list. But if you take a moment to just sit and think of a random character, with a random personality and a random appearance, you will eventually come up with a character that will grow as the story does.
So what have we learnt by this?
Whatever happens, always remember to give your character a hook, maybe he is a mummy’s boy, or maybe he never goes anywhere without his funny looking dog named Spot?
Whoever they may be, remember not to force the character. An audience can always tell when a character is forced. So if you are struggling to think of the next character for your next short film, just relax, have a cuppa and maybe watch a cheesy old film.
It will come to you.
Here are a few links to help you along the way to creating a masterpiece.
Five ways to start a script : http://2012.scriptfrenzy.org/node/2003510
Developing your characters :http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Characters-in-Film
Characters for the screen :http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/character
And here is the link to the original article including parts one and two of SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE and many, many more interesting blogs and information.
The Birdies Film Festival : http://www.thebirdiesff.com/#!blog/cnms