Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Characters need a "Thing"

While reading Scriptshadow's review of 'Retreat', a Dead Calm-esque thriller on an isolated island, I came across a great little insight. (One of the great things about Scriptshadow's review format is the little insight at the end of each review; quite often there's something that sticks with me.)

Anyway, this idea is relevant to the work I want to do on Left Coast, making the supporting characters that surround the lead character as real and pro-active as possible.
[E]very character should have a “thing” going on.

Everybody’s got a “thing.” My friend Dan’s thing is that he’s obsessed with women, to the point where it’s ruined a marriage and a couple of other great relationships he’s had. My friend Claire’s thing is that she refuses to rely on other people for help. She has to do everything herself, even when at times it’s impossible.

Kate’s thing [in this script] is that she can’t forgive her husband for putting his work before her.

Think about all the friends in your life. You can probably break all of them down into having that one “thing” that identifies them. This “thing” is what you use your screenplay to explore. Sure this [script's] concept is about a deadly virus that could potentially end human existence. But really this script is about a woman trying to come to terms with what her husband did to her, forgive him, and move on.

OPost Optionsnce you identify what your main character’s “thing” is, you can use your screenplay to explore it. If you’re not doing that, I got news for you, you’re going to have a hard time writing a good screenplay.
Post a Comment