Constructing Character & Dialogue

Screenplay complete draft deadline = Friday 15th December.

Character is constructed in a screenplay in three ways:

  1. What the character says
  2. What the character does
  3. What the character looks like

It is now time to develop those aspects of the characters in your screenplays.

Watch this sequence from Oh Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) Coen Brothers with the sound turned down.

  • How much of the character is visual?
  • Can you make sense of the story without the sound?
  • Calculate the amount of time characters spend speaking and the amount of time they spend in action.

Watch the sequence again with the sound back on.

  • How much of the dialogue is pushing the story forward, and how much is revealing developing character?
  • How much story information is expressed through dialogue?

Activity – Developing your characters

Flesh out your central characters by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What are their values, attitudes & beliefs?
  • What do they want?
  • How does the world they inhabit shape their character?

Here is a document designed to help you think of more of the detail for characters.

Even if the detail is not used in the screenplay it’s still helpful in visualising the characters and considering how they might respond to events in your screenplay.

Use this blank version of the profile document to give detail to your characters

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