Screenwriting 2: “Characters” by J. West
INT. LOUNGE – DAY
JAC (40s) wannabee screenwriter -- scratches her head, and slurps coffee. She takes a moment before bashing on the laptop keyboard. JAC Characters... characters. ALFIE (5) cat, local, writing consultant -- is curled up, on the back of the sofa. He tries miserably, not to nod off. JAC Are you even awake? ALFIE Yep. I’m with you. Mow. JAC So once you have the bare bones of your story, it’s time to flesh it all out. ALFIE My intelligent side says eww. My feline side says yummm... Jac ignores the silly kitty. JAC So, fuzzy, smarty pants, how do you write characters? ALFIE Base them on smart cats you know? That’s me of course, not you. JAC Ha. You could do. I hate to admit, some reality T.V. shows have a great range of entertaining peeps. ALFIE Let’s not get silly here. The two exchange a look. JAC For me, it’s a combination of their words in their dialogue. And what they do, in the action lines. One has to back the other up. The combination can create a real, three dimensional person. ALFIE So it’s not great to have them say they’re sad, then go dancing, all merry like. JAC Not really. Plus, you actually want to avoid people saying outright, exactly how they feel. ALFIE Wait? What, you wouldn’t? Jac shakes her head, and points to her nose. ALFIE Doesn’t make much sense to me, and makes writing peeps doubly hard. JAC Yep. But we’ll tackle dialogue next time. With characters you do need to concentrate on showing quirks, flaws and all. ALFIE Claws and all. JAC Geeze, you’re in a daft mood today. ALFIE I would work better, if you fed me,
JAC Too early, but nice try. ALFIE Meh. So reality sucks. Ergo. Question! Alfie shoots a leg up. Duly cleans said leg. ALFIE Do all characters have to be real
JAC Depends. For comedy for instance, or even horror at times, you can get away with less developed people. But I think, for any story, especially like a drama, it helps to have your characters grounded on convincing personality traits. ALFIE Hmm. Interesting... so they can be as simple or complex as you want. Use yourself, and what would you do in that situation. Like method acting, darling... JAC Whatever suits the story needs. ALFIE Well I can tell you now, this furry character needs feeding. JAC You, my kitty friend, have a one
ALFIE No. I also think a lot about sleeping. Alfie yawns. ALFIE And as exciting as this chat is, I might just close my eyes for a while. But please believe me, when I tell you that I’m listening, that I’m not.
ALFIE You may pay me in tuna. Jac snaps the laptop shut in a huff.
Author: J. West
NOTE: Unfortunately blogging platforms don’t allow to maintain the typical screenwriting format, and it’s why the page formatting is out of sync. Please, open the following links to see the script as it should be.