• Anthony Hett

How to write a short film - Knowing your characters

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 Knowing your characters.

Now this is going to be a fairly short post but one that has, what I believe to be, a super important message. Which is:

Before you commit pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard, before you start to finalise your story and plot, long before you write any dialogue, it is absolutely crucial that you know your characters inside and out.

It is incredibly important for you to fully understand who your characters are because it will help you to form story decisions around how the behaviour of your characters which can have a big effect on the direction of your story.

So know your characters. If a character behaves in a certain way, where is that coming from? Who are they as a person? If you place them in a certain situation how will they response? Their actions should never feel out of character, unless you are doing so with a specific reason in mind. You want their actions and reactions to feel true to their character. If this isn’t the case, then actors, producers, audiences etc will start to question your characters actions and motives. However, if you fully understand your characters, then people will be less likely to ask questions. While, if they do, you will be able to explain the behaviour in question, in a way that makes sense.

So those are some of the reasons I believe that it is extremely important to know your characters inside and out before you start to write your script. But how do you do it? Well, one way to better understand your characters is by writing a character breakdown. If you're not sure what a character breakdown is, don't worry but be sure to read my next post.

As those are all of my thoughts, for now, on Knowing you characters. I hope that you find them helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments below and share this post with anyone who you think might find it helpful. Be sure to check out my YouTube videos and remember that I post a new video and blog every Wednesday at 9am (gmt). In my next blog and video, I will be discussing Character breakdowns.