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Daily Screenwriting Tips

Create Believable Characters For Your Screenplay

Creating believable characters is the key to writing a great screenplay. It's also the most challenging aspect of screenwriting. There are, however, techniques for developing characters who are life-like.

One technique involves modeling the hero and villain in your story after people you've met and interacted with. To do this, list the character traits of your friends, relatives, business colleagues, and girlfriends or boyfriends. Be sure to choose people who are similar to the characters in your story.


To list the key characteristics of a person you know, ask yourself

     1.  Who are the most important people in this person's life? For
          example, some people value their friends or business colleagues
          more than their spouse. Other people believe that family are most

     2.  What does your friend, colleague, or relative do for a living?
          Describe how this person behaves at work. Does he or she work
          hard and achieve great results? Or, does this person frequently get
          stressed out and achieve only limited success?

     3.  When does the person you know seek out recreational activities?
          Some people try to relieve the monotony or stress of their
          workday by joking around with colleagues at work. Others will get
          a beer or martini at a local bar during their lunch hour. How a
          person handles stress reveals a lot about him or her.

     4.  Where does your acquaintance go on weekends and during
          vacations? For example, some people are active and like sports.
          Others prefer solitude.

     5.  Why does the person you know get up in the morning? What
           motivates him or her? Survival? Love? Money? Revenge?

By answering these questions, you will be able to create a short
character biography that will help you develop a life-like character for your screenplay.

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