Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 20


Creating a strong Protagonist and
an equally effective Antagonist

Quotes on Character
O Start with a world and then ask yourself

what the character does and how he/she

acts in this world. The characters POV will
lead to scenes that are meaningful. Then,
the story begins to emerge.
Screenwriter John August,
From 2012 AFF workshop Layered Storytelling

Four Types of Protagonists

O Hero superior to the

reader and produces

admiration; not perfect
but confident in skills
and take action. We
dont identify with
them, we fantasize
about being them. Ex.
Superman, James
Bond, Sherlock Holmes.

Four Types of Protagonists

O Average Joe equal to the

reader; we feel sympathy

for him because we
recognize ourselves in him.
He rises above doubts,
limitations, obstacles.
Ordinary people in an
extraordinary situation. Ex.
McClane in Die Hard;
Elliot in E.T.

Four Types of Protagonists

O Underdog inferior to the

reader; unlikely hero who is

outmatched by antagonistic
forces. We feel compassion
for their lack of self-esteem
or resources; admiration for
determination to triumph in
spite of it; suspense for the
implausibility of their
success. Ex. Forrest
Gump, My Left Foot,

Four Types of Protagonists


Lost Soul opposite

of the reader; known
as the anti-hero; goes
down the wrong path;
morally defective and
represents darker side
of humanity. Evokes
fascination with the
dark side; guilty
admiration for their
courage to be bad. Ex.
The Godfather, Taxi
Driver, Citizen Kane.

Quotes on Character
O First, find out what your hero wants, then

just follow him.

- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

What is his/her flaw?

O Identify the main FLAW in

your protagonist and

antagonist. This flaw must
fuel the character to WANT
something but really NEEDS
the oppostite. Ex. In Legally
Blonde, Elle WANTS to win
her ex-boyfriend back
because of her flaw
superficiality. Instead, she
NEEDS a major makeover on
the inside.

What does he/she want?

O Desire is the power that drives your script.

He or she must want something tangible

and specific desperately; obstacles cause
conflict which evokes emotions.

Quotes on Character
O You have to know your characters

intimately before you can write with a unique

- Screenwriter Eric Roth,
Forrest Gump; 2012 AFF workshop

Whats their motivation?


Motivation is the
mental force that
makes us act.
Motivation begins with
whats meaningful to
the character, based on
his or her attitude,
beliefs, feelings, or
needs. Ex. Die Hard
a hero rescuing loved
one; Silkwood
fighting against the
system; Unforgiven
redeeming himself.

Using Psychology, Archetypes

O Use Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, Jungs

Archetypes for character ideas.

Quotes on Character
O I would never write about someone who is

not at the end of his rope,

- Stanley Elkin, author of The Living End

What happens if he fails?

O Whats at stake?

What happens if he
fails or succeeds?
A stake is also
known as a
alternative, which
means there
should dire
consequences if
the hero fails.

Quotes on Character
O Give us the character as a lump of clay in

the beginning. BE THE ARTIST and let us

watch you mold that clay throughout the
entire story.
- The Unknown Screenwriter.com

How does he arc or change?

O A Character arcs is

how the protagonist

changes from beginning
to end. The fulfilling of
inner needs or
conquering a selfdefeating flaw that
works against achieving
a goal. The change can
be physical, behavioral,
emotional or mental.

Quotes on Character
O I imbue characters with negative traits.

Hollywood has a false perception of what is

likable in character. Bad characters can be
- Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg,
Con Air; 2012 AFF Finding
Your Anchor workshop

The Antagonist (Bad Gal)

O This is a primary opposition character that is

introduced early on.

O This can be an arch-villain or can be the sum total of
all forces that oppose the main characters will and
desire; But should have one person who personifies.

The Antagonist (Bad Guy)

O Remember that every villain is a hero; its

often helpful to look at the whole story from

the other guys point of view. Dont just ask
what the villain wants. Ask what the villain
needs. Look for an arc so that he can
change as well.

O Writing with Emotional Impact, by Karl

Story by Robert McKee
The Screenwriters Bible by Dave Trottier
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder