SCREENPLAY.today How to Write a Screenplay
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The protagonist, or main-character, is who your story is about.

Is your story about a woman who climbs Mount Everest? Then, the woman is your protagonist. Well, actually I shouldn’t say that. Perhaps your protagonist is the sherpa who leads the woman up the mountain. But, then of course, your movie would be about a sherpa who helps a woman climb Mt. Everest…

How to create a protagonist or main-character for your screenplay:

The Character Arc:TL;DR:

Screenwriting 101:

PROPER SCREENPLAY FORMAT

SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE

SCREENPLAY TEMPLATE

SAMPLE SCREENPLAY PAGES

BEGINNER SCREENWRITERS

FILM SCHOOLS

SCREENWRITING DEGREES

SCREENPLAY STORY STRUCTURE

HOW LONG SHOULD EACH ACT BE?

THREE ACT STRUCTURE

START WRITING NOW

STORY-STRUCTURE TEMPLATE

THE FIRST TURNING POINT

THE SECOND TURNING POINT

PROTAGONIST’S CHARACTER-ARC

GET COVERAGE


FORWARD

Your protagonist doesn’t have to be male or female, young or old, human or animal. It can be pretty much anything you can dream of. Your main-character could be a Monster (Monsters Inc.). Or a car (Cars). Or an alien (Under the Skin). Or a group of people (Poseidon Adventure). Et cetera. Pretty much anything can be the star of your movie, as long as the audience can connect with them and root for them (and, of course, as long as you can give them a quest or goal to shoot for.

Before you even start writing any more than the most basic brush-strokes of your story, you should know your protagonist inside and out. You should know at least the basics of his or her backstory. You should have a very good idea about their character. Their speech patterns. Accent. Way of carrying themselves. Manner of dress. Hair color. Etc…

You are going to be needing to write dialogue for this character that flows 100% naturally. You need to be able to think like the character. You need to know what makes them tick. You need to know their history. You need to be able to speak convincingly as someone who isn’t you. And, not just one character either!

I’ll go into a lot more detail about the protagonist’s character arc later. But, to summarize, your main-character needs an internal-conflict to overcome. A character-flaw or problem that is preventing him from fulfilling himself as a person (and also from fulfilling the ultimate quest).

It’s not until the protagonist overcomes this character-flaw that he’s finally able to achieve victory.

For instance, if your protagonist is an alcoholic attorney, he won’t be able to win the big case until he goes cold-turkey.

If your main-character is a racist, like in American History X, he won’t be able to save his brother and get him out of the neo-Nazis before he changes himself first. Before he learns to love other people and have tolerance. Only then can he convince his brother of the error of their ways.

How many times have you seen a movie where the Dad ignores the son or daughter, always having to work? Then, by the end of the movie, the father will have learned the true meaning of family and love? Well, that’s his character arc.

In The Graduate, the movie starts out with Benjamin being anti-social and wanting to be by himself, to separate himself from his family and friends. He doesn’t want anything to do with other people. By the end of the movie, he’s found love and is rushing off to a new life with his stolen bride.

First he has extra-marital sex with Mrs. Robinson (very bad) - and by the end he’s professing his devotion to his one true love and running off while everyone tries to stop them (very good).

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