Among all the guides for developing characters in your screenplay, I had never heard of these two tricks from screenwriter Bryan Young. Bryan is an award-winning storyteller, with films, podcasts, books, and posts on StarWars.com, Scyfy.com, HowStuffWorks.com, and more. He’s done a lot of reading and writing in his day, so he’s figured out what works for him when it comes to his storytelling formula. Try his character development tricks on for size to see how they work for you!
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1. The Rule of 3
The Rule of Three exists in many places, not just storytelling. In general, the Rule suggests that using three elements – whether that be characters or events – is easier for the audience to understand and remember. In its simplicity, it makes the idea more catchy and gives rhythm to your story. It also signals what the viewer should be looking out for in your character’s arc.
2. Write Characters for Dead Actors
I’ve heard of screenwriters who write with particular actors in mind, even going so far as to describe the character as such in their screenplay (“He was a Joe Pesci-type”). But doing this other way is a game-changer! Write with an actor in mind who has passed away, so you’re not thinking to yourself, “will this actor even want to be in this movie?” or some other destructive or hindering thought. Then, when you’re rewriting, change the character you have in mind to a living actor. How does your character need to evolve to fit the new actor? Does it add another dimension to the character and improve your story?
Switch it up,