Continuing to use Tootsie as an example, Michael Dorsey who didn't care about anything else but acting in the beginning, now discovers he needs love. In fact, in the beginning of the film he treated women more as objects than as equals. He really never wanted to be get romantically involved or fall in love with anyone. Yet, by the end of the picture he realizes what's important to him and experiences an emotional transformation. He has learned how to be a better man through being a woman and recognizing how badly he'd treated women in his past relationships.
As you create your main character ask yourself what her transformational arc will be in the climax. What emotional change will she experience from the opening through to the ending. Obviously, she will have to make personal changes throughout your story, little by little, and not all at once. When a baby learns to walk he first starts to crawl and then step by step eventually learns how to walk. Falling down a lot and getting hurt in the process is part of his growth. Well, the same is true for your main character's personal growth.
When your main character experiences a change or transformation in the climax, it will be believable and not forced if you have motivated the change throughout your entire script in every scene. If a character becomes courageous in the climax, he would have to be fearful in the beginning of your story. That's his emotional transformation. He must develop and struggle throughout the script in order to emotionally change from fearful to brave.
In fact, if a character doesn't change in the climax your screenplay still could work only if you make your character struggle and remain active throughout the script. That's how William Shakespeare's tragedies worked, because Othello, King Lear and
Macbeth all struggled throughout, but in the end their fatal flaw caused their individual downfall.
It will be helpful if you can describe your character's emotional transformational arc by using an adjective or verb as follows: "My main character goes from hate to love; from selfish to selfless; from weak to strong." This will help you determine the emotional line of your main character and determine what their emotional transformation will be in the climax.
How people act, respond, react, and most important— FEEL—is what makes good drama. It is how characters behave with one another and how they react and interact in friendship or love that makes for strong emotional writing. It is the emotional story people pay to see. They want to be moved, to feel and to care. By concentrating on the character's emotional transformation of your story you will be laying down complex characters who experience a transformational arc and will make your screenplay successful and riveting.
Was this article helpful?