Well, the same is also true for your main character. You can only follow one character's journey in your screenplay at one time. Of course, you may have many characters in your screenplay, but you only have one main character to follow in your screenplay. If you try to follow more than one character's point-of-view, your screenplay will become unfocused and confusing.
Many beginning writers start their screenplay without knowing who the main character is and their writing isn't focused because of that reason. However, there are several ways to determine your main character. Ask yourself these following questions to discover who your main character will be in your screenplay.
"Does my main character have a specific goal that he desperately wants to achieve?"
"Is my main character active and not passive throughout the story?"
"Does my main character change or transform in the climax?"
If the answers to all the questions are "yes," then you've chosen the right main character.
I'm certain you can recall a few movies which seem to have more than one main character. It's always inevitable in my classes that someone will point out the exceptions to this rule. When the students and I discuss the rule of having only one main character there are invariably a few students who will challenge it.
"What about When Harry Met Sally!" "What about Romeo andjuliet?"
In each case there is still only one main character. Based on the above questions you were instructed to ask yourself, can you guess which one is the main character in each story?
If you answered Harry and Romeo as the main characters in each story you made the right choices. Why? Because Harry and Romeo are the characters who have a specific goal which moves the story forward. For instance, in the case of Harry in When Harry Met Sally, he's the one of the two who creates the driving force that moves the story toward a specific goal, which is having a love affair.
To get better acquainted with your characters you need to delve into their past, just like you did with yourself, to discover how they became who they are in your screenplay. Since a character's actions must develop from the kind of person he is, you really can't begin your story until your have a thorough understanding of what makes your characters tick.
Was this article helpful?