Develop great characters when writing a screenplay

You can help fix the problem by not being part of it in the first place. I’m not saying don’t go see a comic book movie when they come out – they are normally (that side eye is for you, Fantastic Four) a lot of fun, and you get to escape your problems for a few hours at the movies – all’s well that ends well, right? But afterward, when you go home and work on your own material, even if it is a comic book adaptation, by adding depth to your characters when writing a screenplay, you say “This is important to me, as a writer, and I think it is important to the viewers as well.” By taking the time to really, really flesh your characters out, you’re actually committing a small act of rebellion that makes moviemaking better for everyone – and making yourself look like a genius in the process.

And whether you realize it or not, and as much as Hollywood would like to believe to the contrary, writers are an essential part of the Hollywood system – without us, they don’t have anything to film in the first place. And so collectively, if we, as the writers, put on a united front and say that this – telling our stories with living, breathing people when writing a screenplay – is important to us, then it forces them to take notice, to implement our changes into the very system they’ve been trying to tell us we’re not a part of. But that change only happens if you do two things:

1. Write great characters (when writing a screenplay) because they make your script better and because they make other movies strive to be better
2. Stop seeing Michael Bay remakes. Real talk, I can’t stress that enough – dude is the enemy of forward moving, character driven filmmakers and writers everywhere – even Antarctica.

There’s one more piece of writing advice that I want to give you, and it’s really important – hell, even though this whole thing has been about how to develop great characters when writing a screenplay thus far, I want to end it on a high note and do one better – try and actually help you see your characters come to live, even if you don’t know a famous Hollywood celebrity and your last name isn’t Spielberg or Lucas or Barrymore.