It has been seen in many flop movies that they do not work out due to lack of characterization. Many writers fall the victim of a notion that the main character is important and he/she must be portrayed in detail.

Well, it is wrong. Every character in the script needs attention, moreover, every character needs to be shown as realistic – having real struggles, goals, joy, and desperation.

Of course, the best way to understand the struggles of humans can be done through self-discovery. As a writer, you need to be fully aware of your own wide spectrum of emotions. If your work is not reflective of your heart and soul then it’s just a mechanical rendition of some scenes put together.

The creative process

The development of the creative process is essentially based on the following categories, as suggested by Scott McCloud:

  1. Idea/purpose
  2. Form
  3. Idiom
  4. Structure
  5. Craft
  6. Surface

Seemingly simple categories, but in reality these focus on a wide spectrum of any creative project. These are based on the combined effort of heart and brain, that is; you have to listen to stirrings of your heart and at the same time understand the logical reasoning of the brain.

Hooking your reader

Hooking your audience to a film is wholly dependent on the first 10 minutes and first 10 pages of the script. Let me break it down for you. Introduce the character. Create empathy with him. Present the problem he is facing. How he solves the problem.

In between the two ends of introducing the character and resolution, lies creativity. How human do you make him? How realistic are his problems?

Where to start?

The simple yet effective approach can be to start with a minimum amount of scene. Remember the opening of ‘Godfather.’ Just keep the opening scene of that movie in your mind.

At the same time, you can start from the middle or the end and build the whole narrative backward.

No matter what strategy you adopt, just consider yourself as a god of your script. You know the inside and out of your every character, you know all the actions and reactions and you know the ending.


Every scene or sequel of the scene is based on this principle of motivation-reaction.

  • Decide the effect you want your character to have and based on that find the motivation for him to react. You can internal or external elements to make the audience feel for the character.
  • Create a focus on just one element(s) in the scene which is relevant to the reaction of the character. Block out all the extra details to achieve the desired result.

What is Scene-Sequel Relationship?

Your character has a goal. His efforts to reach that goal will present his conflict. His attempts to resolve conflict leads him to some disaster. This one element successfully creates suspense. This is your Scene,

The reaction of your character – be it fear, anger, stress, disappointment – will lead to a dilemma. Resolution of dilemma prompts him to make a new decision and eventually a goal.

The repetition of this cycle is what your whole script is about.


Choose two movies. Analyze at least one cycle of goal, conflict, disaster, reaction, dilemma, and decision.

Answer the following questions:

  1. What are the initial goals of the main characters?
  2. Do these goals change or stay the same during the movie?

What are the conflicts and barriers faced by the character, in reaching their goals?

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