Character Roles

What is your character’s role? Answering this question is the key to creating a successful character – a screenwriting necessity. You must know why a particular character is in your story and what role you intend him or her to play. Is he the hero? She the villain? And if he is the hero, what face does he wear: the savior, the recluse, the warrior, or the fool? And what of our villain? Is she the femme fatale, the narcissist, the psychotic, the traitor?

Understanding character roles is never limited to the protagonist and antagonist. A screenplay needs supporting players as well: friends and rivals. There are symbolic characters, mythic characters, fantasy characters, even nonhuman characters. Sometimes a group all share the same role, and characters often play more than one role at a time. Some are one-string characters, appearing in only a few scenes, and others are intricate to the sub-plot, having their own line of action connected to the main conflict.

Character roles have infinite possibilities, and they can be defined in different ways, but when it comes to designing those roles, there is one absolute: every character has a role to play.

Your Hero: Top Ten Rules

The most important character in your screenplay is your protagonist: your hero. It's her story. We hope and fear for her. She' the interesting somebody who wants something badly and is having trouble getting it. Without your hero, there is no story. But when creating that unforgettable protagonist, you must know...
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Your Hero: Top Ten Rules (Expanded)

The most important character in your screenplay is your protagonist: your hero. Without her, there is no story. But when creating that unforgettable protagonist, you must know the entire iceberg, so follow these Ten Key Rules (now with expanded explanations), and you'll sculpt a hero that breaks the mold. 1. You...
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Heroes

WARRIOR A Warrior is a hero that has expertise in combat or warfare. This type of hero rises to the occasion by taking on a leadership position, and becomes extremely influential within his or her own circle. Warriors can be motivated by revenge, oppression, or moral responsibility. The traditional warriors...
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Villains

FEMME FATALE The French translation of Femme Fatale literally means “deadly woman." The Femme Fatale character is seductive, mysterious, and most of all – extremely dangerous. Her greatest power is her ability to entrance her victims with her appearance, and lead them into dangerous situations. While she often uses...
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Rivals: Fab Four

Rivals are adversaries. They are supporting characters who dislike the hero, creating minor obstacles, but since they don’t oppose the hero’s objective, they’re not antagonists.  For the screenwriter, understanding supporting characters is indispensable. And even though there are a multitude of supporting roles, illustrated here are four types of...
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