5 STEPS TO STRONG CHARACTERS - National Youth Film Academy


Without strong characters, your screenplay is going nowhere! Here are 5 steps to make sure your characters lead the way!


5. Make it easy for your audience!

Depending on your narrative, make your character seem likeable or unlikeable as early as possible. Without an emotional attachment, your audience will find it difficult to remain engaged, no matter how great the story may be.

4. Know your characters!

Before you start writing your story, you need to know who your characters are. Once you know this, you’ll know how they’ll respond to the situations you put them in. Take some time and really get to know your character. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do they like/dislike?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • Why do they live where they live?
  • What’s their favourite food/drink?
  • What’s their happiest/saddest memory?
  • If they won the Lotto, what would they spend it on?

3. Perfection!

No one is perfect, your characters should not be either! Think about their character flaws and how this affects their personality.

2. Strong Dialogue!

Your characters should only speak when they have something to say. There’s no room in films for anything other than strong dialogue. If you can, give your characters defining opening lines. This way, the audience will know who they are and what type of character they are.

1. Get your characters name right!

Your characters name should say something about them. Here are a few things to think about when naming your characters:

  • Personality – Does their name suit their personality?
  • Meaning – Is there a significant meaning behind the name? Perhaps it alludes to elements of the characters life/story etc?
  • Age-Appropriate – If your screenplay is set in a specific ere, make sure the characters name reflects that. Do your research!
  • Fit the world – Your characters name should help them fit into the world you’ve created.

Hopefully, by spending time getting to know your characters and really thinking about what their name is, you’ll have a well rounded character to match your winning screenplay!


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