What Motivates Antagonists To Act?


The antagonist in your screenplay places obstacles to your main character’s goal. They need to provide formidable¬†opposition to your protagonist rather than being an inconvenience to make these obstacles meaningful. But what drives your antagonists? Most of the time they have a specific goal in mind, but other times, their motivations are less clear. Let’s…

How To Write Characters Who Lie


Screenwriters will have to write lying characters in at least one screenplay. There are various patterns and gestures that liars fall into, so it helps to make them believable. This article isn’t so much about ‘liespotting,’ ‘gotcha,’ or ‘bazinga’ moments. but rather an overview of the behavior of liars so you can write more authentic…

4 Ways To Test Your Characters


Character conflict is the basis of an engaging screenplay. What exactly are the causes of conflict? It’s more than two or more characters arguing about a goal. It’s about pushing your characters to their limits to see what they can withstand. These limits form the basis of the character arcs of good screenwriting. They tie…

Desire Is The Basis Of Your Characters’ Behavior


Humans beings are a curious lot. So too are your characters. Traditional storytelling tropes dictate that the characters in your screenplay must have a goal. They must relentlessly pursue that goal to its conclusion whether they achieve it or not. They must have compelling stakes to reach their goal, and the escalation of the obstacles…

How Do Your Characters Communicate?


Screenwriting involved mining character relationships and their interactions. There are a number of ways characters communicate with each other. As a screenwriter, you must give each character a predominant communication style to complement their personality. Moreover, look at ways to give your main characters opposing communication styles to generate conflict between them. When constructing your…

Should You Set An Emotionally Abusive Character Loose In Your Screenplay?


Only if you want to add authenticity to your screenwriting. Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, politicians; they all make fascinating characters in your film script. But you need to do your research on common anti-social personality disorders. Characters with personality disorders behave in very specific ways to manipulate other characters into their way of thinking. What are…

Does Your Main Character Have A Guardian Angel?


The main character in many screenplays has a BFF, a guardian angel, an ally, a teacher or a mentor. Although they each have their own nuances, they all serve a similar purpose; to protect, to provide moral guidance and facilitate the path to personal growth. Or as the New Age types call it– manifestation of…

Why Is Fear So Important In Your Screenplays?


FEAR is a significant motivator of human behavior. It dictates what we do and what we don’t do. Therefore it’s important for screenwriters to understand how fear works in human development and subsequently write richer characters in your stories. Fears make our characters human. It exposes vulnerabilities and informs character backstory. Fears are either physical…

14 Things To Consider Before Naming Your Characters


Screenwriting is serious business. Screenwriters don’t leave anything to chance, especially the names of each character. Naming each character in your screenplay requires thought. Apart from not making multiple character names phonetically similar (unless they’re Sherry and Cherry the identical twins), take some time to consider your characters’ individual backstories, personalities and dramatic functions. Your…

6 Moral Dilemmas That Layer & Deeply Enrich Your Characters


Every great screenplay character starts with a tough dilemma – a difficult choice between two or more equally undesirable options. Morals are dictated by communal standards, behaviors and belief systems. Although many cultures support individualism, major deviation from societal mores are frowned upon. Morals are not mathematical equations with a definite correct or incorrect answer….

Writing Abusive Characters


The characters in your screenplay are often portrayed as either good or bad. Sometimes they start out bad and eventually become good. Or vice versa. Film and TV character who abuse others are a special class. Every action, every word is a premeditated step to subdue and control another person. Nasty stuff. However, they do…

What Defines A Strong Film Character?


I’ve written several articles on how to construct ¬†balanced, fleshed-out characters in your screenplay. You pose a series of questions relating to their physical, emotional, spiritual and socio-economic status. What are their wants and needs? What are their superficial and emotional goals in the story? How do they interact with the other characters? These questions…