Scriptwriting, like any other creative process, is long, requires brain space and time to develop characters and the stories they will carry. Without the script, there is no film, and as a screenwriter, you should:
1. Like ALL your characters, not only the good ones. Don’t use judgmental words about your characters.
2. Try not to love your character unconditionally as you may need to kill them off (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead). It’s not going to be easy; will you be able to write that?
3. Don’t be an overprotective, obsessive parent. Give your characters the freedom to grow and shine; throw experiences at your character/s.
4. Drop it and move on, if some elements of your story don’t work out for you. Stick with the stuff that works for the characters and the story.
5. Be very clear who you need in your story. Do you have too many or too few characters? If someone isn’t essential to your story, they should be dropped.
6. How would you solve the characters’ problems if you (the writer) were going to be in the story?
7. Your main character has a row with your secondary character. What happens; how does it go?
8. If you feel stuck, try to swap places with your character and see through their eyes and experience.
9. Backstory often helps the writer to know who the character is and what they are capable of. However, don’t try to force your backstory; it will backfire, and you may waste a lot of valuable time trying to figure out stuff from the character’s past that won’t matter that much.
10. As a writer, you need to be able to pinpoint your characters’ experiences and how those influenced the characters’ current situation and the actions they are going to take during the film.
11. Trust your instincts. You will know if something is working or isn’t.
12. Sample exercise for the writer:
- Imagine you were at the end of the script: what would you tell your characters?
- What kind of advice would you give to your characters at the beginning of the script?
13. As a writer, you must take responsibility for your characters.
14. You shouldn’t judge your characters, even if they are bad/evil.
15. Understand the values of your character/s.
16. Save the most important decisions the character has to make to the very end of the story.