Even though I’ve written several scripts, I don’t think of myself as a writer. That said, I’ve developed some tools to help the aspiring screenwriter get started on their masterpiece.
Think of the kind of movies that you like to go see. Do you like comedies, drama’s, sci-fi, westerns? What films do you find the most entertaining? What kind of a film could you see yourself writing? Write down some of your favorite movies on a piece of paper.
Where does your film take place? And when? If you’re not sure, think about possible places and times that you find interesting. The international space station? NYC? The Ganges river basin? Write it down!
Next, and this may seem irrelevant but trust me, think about things that you personally want out of life. Do you have a dream job that you want? Do you want more respect from people? Do you want a better sex life? Write down as many things that you can think of, and be completely honest with yourself becasue no one else is going to read this!
Now think of things that scare you. Are you afraid that you’ll never get out of debt? Do you fear death? Are you afraid to be alone? Pour your heart out on the paper, really think about it.
At this point we already have a good amount of information about your movie.
You know what genre your film is, and you know where the film takes place. You also have a huge list of fears and desires that your characters can have. Most people are too scared or principled to write characters that reflect themselves; but from my experience, the process moves a lot smoother when I can relate to the people I’m writing about. By examining yourself you will awaken insight into characters that you may want to create. The best characters out there are rooted in very real desires and fears, use yours!
Download and print off this character profile sheet. It asks a ton of questions, which will help you get a better understanding of who your characters are.
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