• Anthony Hett

How to write a short film - Character breakdowns

Hello and welcome to my blog, where I offer simple and practical advice on how to write and make an interesting, engaging and hopefully successful short film.

In today‘s blog post I will be taking a quick look at the topic of Character breakdowns.

As I mentioned in my last post, I think that it is absolutely crucial to know your characters inside and out before you start to write your script and one way to know your characters a little better is by writing each of them a character breakdown.

What is a character breakdown?

A character breakdown is a brief description of a character, which is usually no more than around 50-100 words in length.

Why is a character breakdown helpful?

A character breakdown can be very helpful for a number of people. They can be useful to you as a writer as they help you to understand your characters better which can help you to make story and plot decisions, based on how your character responds to a given situation.

They can also be very helpful during the casting process. They can be an important tool to help actors to get into character for the audition, while they can also help producers, casting directors and agents to better understand the character, helping them to decide if a certain actor is a good fit for the role.

What should be included in a character breakdown?

There are a number of things that can be included in a character breakdown, such as: age, sex, race, job, likes and dislikes. However, I personally think that it is most beneficial to include information about the characters personality; who they are as a person and how they are likely to react to certain situations. Are they calm or quick to anger? Are they thoughtful or selfish? What fears or anxieties to they have? Now of course nobody is just one thing, people are very complicated beings. However, it can be very helpful to note down some key points that will help the reader to understand the character a little better.

So those are my thoughts on what a character breakdown is, why they can be useful to write and what they should include. But before I conclude this blog post, I wanted to share an example of a character breakdown with you. So here is a character breakdown (for the character Abi in my upcoming short film Leonardo):

Abi (early 30s): A larger than life character who loves to wear bright colours. Abi works in advertising and could be described as a social butterfly. She is an only child and was very close to her father, before he died suddenly when she was a teenager. She is mixed race and grew up in a small town where all of the other children were white. She is a very sentimental and nostalgic person.

So that it is how I personally write a character break down. I hope that it is helpful for you read and be sure to try and read some other character breakdowns written by other writers.

So that is it for my post on writing a Character breakdown. I hope that you found it helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments below and share this post with others who you think might find it helpful. Also be sure to check out my YouTube videos and previous blog posts if you haven't already. There is new video and blog post every Wednesday at 9am (gmt). In my next blog and video, I will be discussing how to write a Character bible.