Character introductions – capturing essence

Why essence matters the most?

New writers often ask that what makes a great character introduction for both physical description and initial actions. Well, there are many experienced writers who have outdone themselves. They write lines beautifully and the top example is American beauty. It is an amazing script and Allan Ball’s creativity is evident. Writers won’t find a better script than this. His script includes everything, it has all the stakes and the character development is on point. His introduction of actors through action shows his good craft. In a good craft, writers want to immediately introduce characters and explain their motivation.

Another great movie is taken which opens with the scene of the main character sitting with his abducted daughter’s photo. It gives an idea regarding the story right there and then. Action and description of a character tell about their motivation. Setting these two things in the right way sets the grounds for the goal. The first scene should embody the whole story.

Is physical description mandatory?

Explaining physical description or appearance is important for characters but can be boring at times. Describing a character at a great length makes the audience lose interest. Name, age, or ethnicity that is essential to the journey should be described but going into detail might derail the story. Writers should give enough information that provides complete visualization. Essence weighs more than other elements. Script outlines don’t need the physical features to describe a handsome man. Rather the personality of a character makes him shine. A greater ratio of people prefers personality. To capture the vision of a person, an experienced writer needs to capture the essence. An empty physical description having no connection with the plot brings in no benefit to the screenplay structure.

It’s a rule of screenwriting to leave out unnecessary details. Relevant character details can be included in such a way that defines personality. Whether a person is violent or shy can be explained through the outline. Moreover, interesting wardrobe choices can also be mentioned. It’s like painting a picture for the audience. Describing physical attributes requires attention. There are no hard and fast rules but always focus on action. One cannot spew out whatever they want just because they want to fill in space, things need to be specified.

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