Movies tell stories about people. In every script, the writer has to create one character (or a set of characters) that the audience will root for or hate. This special character is known as the main character, often referred to as the protagonist. He or she will be the character with most obstacles and normally the one with the most screen time.   

Creating interesting, realistic characters is an art in itself. To find the right dose of believability and creativity to mix together and form an exciting, realistic character ranks as one of the hardest tasks in screenwriting.   

films to watch

while you watch

think about heroes: characters don’t need to have superpowers to become a hero. Often, the main character of the movie is considered the hero. What makes these characters heroic–bravery, strength, intelligence, kindness? Does the movie focus on just one hero or possibly several?

think about character design: from clothing to hair and makeup, how do these characters look? What does their appearance tell us about them as a person? Character design is especially important in animation. What makes Totoro so lovable? How do we know he’s friendly, even though he never speaks? In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, each of the heroes are drawn in a different style–what does that tell us about them?

think about character development: how does a character change during the movie? Do they learn new skills or knowledge? Do they build new relationships? What do we learn about them over time?

activity: create a character mobile phone

A mobile phone can tell you a lot about a person. It shows their interests, who their friends and contacts are and even what they were up to only recently.

Choose a character from a movie or tv show and think about what their phone would be like! What apps would they have? Who would their contacts be? Who would they be texting most recently?

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