How to Write Characters – The Sweet Science of Solid Supporting Characters

Supporting characters are, in the author’s very humble opinion, the hardest of all characters to write a screenplay because they are frequently men (or women) of all seasons (knowing this already means you know how to write characters). What exactly do I mean by that? Simply put, they’re often used to provide a number of narrative and relief functions throughout the course of the screenplay, which includes, but are not limited to:

– Spouting off all the funny lines (hey, they have to do something to make the audience like them, right?)
– To give descriptive information in a non-monologue kind of way (getting through the backstory is way less boring when you can do it in a conversation with the character’s best friend).
– To convince the hero to not give up their arduous quest, even when it seems the hardest to keep going (two words – “Yo, Adrian!!!”)
– And sometimes most importantly, to keep a scene moving when it would otherwise be dead in the water.
– They can also be used to generate tension or conflict in scenes where there previously was not any. And while supporting characters should fulfill all of these functions, there is one other crucial thing that I purposefully left off of the list, just so I could single it out here:
– Support your protagonist!

Where do you think the name comes from, anyway? (Someone who knows how to write characters would know this, however). A supporting character’s primary job is to either support or contradict, the protagonist in whatever goal it is that they’re trying to accomplish. You might be a little confused right now. “They can contradict them as well?” I’m going to help you break this down in the simplest way possible. There are two ways that you can go about crafting your supporting characters – supportive, or non-supportive if you’re going to go the supportive route.