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Write Brothers: Developing Your Main Character + Winter Sale From Screenplay.comWednesday, December 16, 2020



48HFP global sponsor Write Brothers shares some important advice below on crafting your Main Character to impact your audience.

Does your Main Character "change" or remain "steadfast"? What's the difference, and how do each of these choices affect the people reading your script or watching your film? Write Brothers gives some expert advice in the article below, written just for our 48HFP filmmakers and screenwriters.

Read the article, and then be sure to check out the Winter Sale at Write Brothers' sister site They have some great sales on their award-winning, film industry standard Movie Magic® Screenwriter software, as well their Dramatica® story development software. The sale ends on December 24th, so act now to snag these deals for yourself or the budding screenwriter in your family.


Holiday Gifts for Screenwriters


Movie Magic® Screenwriter $129


Dramatica® Story Expert for Mac $119


Dramatica® Pro for Windows $99

Sale Ends December 24, 2020


From Write Brothers: Make Your Main Character "Change" Or Remain "Steadfast" To Impact Your Audience

The Main Character is the character through whose eyes the audience experiences a story, and as such represents the audience's position in a narrative. Therefore, whether the main character changes or not has a huge impact on the audience's story experience and the message you are sending to it. Some Main Characters grow to the point of changing their nature or attitude regarding a central personal issue like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol or Mia in La La Land. Others grow in their resolve, holding onto their nature or attitude against all obstacles like Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive or Robbie in Spotlight.

Change – truly paradigm-shifting personal transformation -- can be good if the character is on the wrong (or personally troubling) track to begin with. It can also be bad if the character is on the right track and switches to a disconcerting path. Similarly, sticking to one's existing world view by remaining Steadfast is good if the character is on the right track, but bad if it is misguided or mistaken.

Think about the message you want to send to your audience, and whether the Main Character's path should represent the proper or improper way of dealing with the story's central issue. Then select a change or steadfast Main Character accordingly.

Do you want your story to bring your audience to a point of change or to reinforce its current view? Oddly enough, choosing a steadfast Main Character may bring an audience to change and choosing a change character may influence the audience to remain steadfast. Why? It depends upon whether or not your audience shares the Main Character's point of view at the beginning of the narrative.

Suppose your audience and your Main Character do NOT agree in attitudes about the central issue of the story. Even so, the audience will still identify with the Main Character because it represents the audience's position in the story. So, if the Main Character grows in resolve to remain steadfast and succeeds, then the message to your audience is, "Change and adopt the Main Character's view if you wish to succeed in similar situations."

Clearly, since either change or steadfast can lead to either success or failure in a story, when you factor in where the audience stands a great number of different kinds of audience impact can be created by your choice. In answering this question for your own story, therefore, consider not only what you want your Main Character to do as an individual, but also how that influences your story's message and where your audience stands with regard to that issue.

Filmic examples of Change Main Characters: Woody in Toy Story 4; James Bond in Skyfall; Mrs. Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (pilot); Elisa in The Shape of Water; Chief Brody in Jaws; Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz; Aibileen in The Help.

Filmic examples of Steadfast Main Characters: Joe in Little Women (2019); Paddington in Paddington 2; Carol Shelby in Ford v Ferrari; Rachel Chu in Crazy Rich Asians; Josh in Big; Anna in Frozen; Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity.


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