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Irony in a Screenplay

How To Introduce A Character In A Screenplay .....1/23/06

To begin writing about characters in your screenplay, you must understand them very well so that you can select the important characteristics that describe them best.

To determine how to introduce the main characters in your script, it's important to first write a detailed biography for each of them. This biography should include physical, psychological, and historical details.

These details will be used to describe your characters and their actions. When the protagonist, antagonist, and important supporting characters first appear in your script, a brief description of each of them is needed.

This description can be as short as one sentence, but it should provide key information about physical appearance and personality. This description always appears before the character speaks for the first time.

Basic descriptive points that may be part of a character introduction include the character's name, age, sex, general physical appearance, clothing style, personality characteristics or mannerisms, and anything that uniquely defines the character.


In a character introduction, the name of the character is stated first. The description of the character follows the name. The character's name is written in capital letters the first time it appears and before the character speaks for the first time.


KELLY BRANDT clutches her camera as she pushes through a crowd of people who are gaping with shocked expressions at flames leaping from a nearby building. KELLY's  stark beauty and intense blue eyes are illuminated in the firelight as she presses forward, determined to get her first story assignment on the front page of tomorrow's Daily Gazette.

In the character description of Kelly, her age isn't specified. But the description of her beauty, her eyes, the way she  moves with determination, and the fact that this is her first story assignment provide clues that she's young. When Kelly "pushes through a crowd," we learn that she's assertive and ambitious. Kelly's personality characteristics are defined by her actions here, as well as by the physical description of her.

It takes only a few sentences to describe a character. But keep in mind that you need to carefully
choose the descriptive words that best define the character and his or her personality.


Down the street, ALLEN  MARSHALL steps out of his jeep. ALLEN is thirty-two years old, unshaven, dressed in faded jeans, T-shirt, boots, and a cap emblazoned with WBBD Radio. He moves with long, confident steps toward the crowd and the burning building.

In the description of Allen, his age is stated. The way Allen is dressed and the fact that he is unshaven tells us a great deal about him. Also, he's driving a jeep—another expression  of personality. We can see that Allen is defiant, cares little about what others think of his appearance, and is very confident, which he expresses in the way he walks. The cap he's wearing provides clues about his job and complements his personality. The jeep fits in well with Allen's unshaven face, his faded jeans, and his boots.

Screenwriters can benefit from reading
published screenplays to learn more about how characters are introduced and described.

To introduce a character and write a description, ask yourself several questions:

1) Who is your character? Is this character the protagonist, the antagonist, a supporting
    character? What is the character's name? Describe the character's physical
    characteristics and personality characteristics.
2) What does your character do for a living? What is he trying to achieve? What is his
3) When does the story take place? Does it take place now, in the past, in the future?
4) Where is your character located? Describe the physical location.
5) Why does your character look or behave the way he does? What is his motivation?
6) How do your character's mannerisms or actions define his personality?

Creating Characters Based On Personality Type



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