Every story has characters. They can be well defined, with a background biography covering every important event from birth to death. Or they can be abstract and representative, standing in for a larger emotion or concept. They can be functional, such as the cop in that one scene who’s just there to raise tension. Most likely they’re human, but they can also be animals, robots, aliens, zombies, etc. – though remember that these entail skilled pets, effects and/or makeup. You also want to take a couple other aspects into account. How many characters does your story need? Great. Now how many does your story really need? For example, do you really have to show a dozen uniformed police officers, or does one plain clothes detective do the trick? Every person who appears in your story pushes the budget up a certain amount. Are there even two or three minor but important characters you can combine into one? Don’t hide behind your artistic integrity, because so-called “true story” adaptations do this all the time. Maybe one of your characters is the kind of precocious child that audiences love. Well, having an actor under the age of 18 means a completely different production schedule, child labor laws and all, which differ from state to state. Finally, if this is a project you’re planning to make completely DIY, it might be a good idea to write parts for people you know will appear in your magnum opus.
- Screenwriting 101: 5 Tips for Writing Better Characters Into Your Screenplay
- The Script Lab: Character