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introduce all the supporting-characters by calling them by their first names!

In just a few short scenes, you’ve managed to introduce a whole bunch of different people, and shown the audience a bit about each of their characters.

You only have 20 or so pages for the entire first act, you have so much to do, there’s no time for long, drawn-out introductions. You need to let the audience know who’s who as quick as possible - so you can get onto the more important things, like the plot, the theme, the character arc and the first turning point.

If your main-character is an anti-hero, you probably want to introduce him doing something bad, very bad. If he’s a traditional hero, you probably want to introduce

There’s a reason so many scripts start with the main-character getting out of bed and going through their morning-routine: it’s an easy way to introduce your protagonist and tell the audience a little bit about them (and also provides a nice place to super-impose the opening credits). Then, they can walk into the kitchen - where a supporting-character can call them by their first-name (so the audience knows the protagonist’s name) - and he, in turn, can

him doing something good.

You typically want the audience to relate the the main-character, to ‘like’ him or her. It’s not necessary, but usually it’s what you want. You want the audience to think that the main-character’s quest is actually their quest (at least subconsciously). You want the audience to feel the highs of victory and the lows of defeat. You want them to be involved (emotionally). So, if you can introduce the protagonist in a way that makes the audience really like them, so much the better.

So, you will often see protagonists getting introduced by solving some wrong. Like beating up a drug-dealer who just stole an old lady’s purse. Or helping a destitute woman. Etc...

Trainspotting has one of the best introductions/inciting-incidents around. Lust for Life pounds on the soundtrack as Renton and Spud come blasting around the corner, contraband flying everywhere, being chased by two coppers (combined with an epic, poetic voice-over).

Just look at what this tells you about the characters in just a few short seconds: they are criminals, they don’t care, they are probably homeless or on drugs, they are skinny and unhealthy, dressed poorly, this is set in Scotland, etc…

Then, they introduce all the supporting-characters. They are buddies, they play football (or ‘soccer’ as normal folks call it), they have absolutely no concern for the baby, they are all heroin addicts, etc…

Another good film to watch to see how they introduce the characters is Armageddon, the Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck killer-asteroid movie.

Watch how they introduce all the minor characters, they’ll only have maybe a quarter of a page - and yet, they manage to not just introduce each character, but they manage to tell us everything we need to know about that character’s persona. In just one short scene.

And then again, when they go on leave right before taking off in the Space Shuttle. Each character only gets a short little scene to tell us what happened to each of them - and yet each scene is perfect for the character (not to mention funny).

And again when listing all their demands (for payment). Each item is well-chosen and tells us about each of their personalities. And, again, funny as well. Just look at how much of each character’s character the screenwriter is able to get across in such a tiny amount of space!

If you don’t like popcorn movies like Armageddon of disturbing, drug-filled black comedy/dramas like Trainspotting, try 12 Angry Men (1957).

They have 12 individual characters to introduce and just look at how well they do it. By the end of the film, we know so much about each character it’s like we’ve known them our whole lives. That’s what you should strive for in your screenplays. Don’t just introduce characters, show us what they’re like.

Introducing the Main-Character: Introducing the Supporting-Characters: FORWARD Introducing Your Characters!

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The First Act of your Three-Act Structure. This is where you introduce your main characters to the audience and get the plot rolling. The end of your 1st Act comes with the First Turning Point, the point at which your protagonist chooses his quest The 2nd Act - Where the bulk of your plot goes. Confrontation - this is where your protagonist confronts the status quo and attempts to change it for the better Your 2nd Act can't end without your Second Turning Point! Things may seem bleak for your protagonist, but all is not lost yet! There is still hope!... Backstory - what happened in the past. Exposition, expository dialogue, etc... It all comes down to this - your climax! The end of your story. The conclusion. The one thing everyone in the audience wants to know: does the protagonist win? The 3rd Act - the final act in your three-act structure, where everything is decided, the climax, the conclusion, the end. Your Film's Theme - what your movie is really about. The undercurrent. The second act of your screenplay should be filled with ups and downs, dramatically speaking of course. Like a roller-coaster. It's all about creating conflict and drama. BACK Welcome to SCREENPLAY.today - your free online screen-writing program - learn how to write a screenplay for free! Free Online Screenplay Writing Course from SCREENPLAY.today - screenwriting advice, help, information, hints, tips & tricks