There are a lot of different aspects to a successful script: there's the story, the dialogue, the setting. The element that I find most important and lead with is character. For me, most of my story ideas start with a distinct main character that I relate to and identify with. Here are some tips for writing characters that your audience will be sure to love!
- Know Your Script's Characters From the Beginning
A big part of my pre-writing is to write outlines for my characters. These outlines include anything I feel is essential to know about them, ranging from biographical information to significant beats in the story. I'll also write out important emotional arcs for my characters during this stage, as it helps me to track the emotional trajectory of the script. Doing this work for the characters in your script can give you more insight into them, as well as a better understanding of every character's goals and desires.
- Clear Motivations and Goals for Your Script's Characters
As I said, pre-writing can help to clarify your character's wants, but in your script, you need to be sure that your characters' motivations and goals are clear to the audience. When thinking about motivations and goals, it's helpful to ask yourself, "what does this character want, and what's stopping them from getting it?" then examining to see if you can identify those things in your scenes.
- Create Purpose for Every Character in Your Screenplay
Make sure all of your characters have a reason for being in the script. Each character should have a specific purpose that drives the story forward. Do you have a character that's not bringing anything of importance to the story? It might be worth it to cut them or redistribute their lines and actions to another character.
- Give Your Story's Characters a Flaw
Characters having flaws or insecurities can make them seem much more human and easier to relate to. No one goes through life doing everything perfectly, and neither should the characters in your screenplay. Don't be afraid to let your characters fail or make mistakes.
- Your Passion is Your Character's Strength
I think the most significant piece of advice I can give on writing memorable characters is to write about characters and stories that you're excited and passionate about. If you imbue your characters with your passion, if you spend the time carefully crafting them and willing them into existence, the audience will notice and connect with that. If you know and love your characters, we will too!
Hopefully, these tips will help you to write characters that people will be drawn to and won't easily forget. Happy writing!