THE WORLD IS YOUR CHARACTERS’ STAGE:
Top Ten Tips on Creating a Character’s World
Susan Kouguell is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, and chairperson of the screenplay and post-production consulting company Su-City Pictures East She is the author of The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself ). Follow Susan on Twitter: @SKouguell
Where are we? Why are we here? What does this place really look like?
These are just a few of the questions you don’t want film executives asking themselves about your script because they are confused rather than intrigued. If these film industry folks are questioning these ‘where, why, and what‘ issues, then you are risking your script getting rejected.
This is a topic I also detail in my book Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays! – which I have summarized in my top 10 points below.
Top Ten Tips
- Effectively establish your settings so the reader can step into the world you have created with a complete understanding of how it looks and feels.
- Be faithful and consistent to the world you have created and its rules.
- Research the various settings and time periods in your script for accuracy and plausibility. For example, if your script is set in medieval times, indicate if the setting is a realistic down-and-dirty, muddy, smelly village or a genteel mythic pristine village.
- Action paragraphs should briefly describe elements, such as the technology used, barren wastelands, flying horses, and so on.
- Always keep in mind that action paragraphs should be as an interesting to read as your dialogue. Readers must quickly get a visual picture of the world you have created.
- If your screenplay is set in the past, don’t forget to include the year that your story takes place, otherwise you will confuse the reader.
- If your screenplay is set in the present day but jumps forward or backwards in time, always include the year or a reference to that particular change.