Analyzing characters after you’ve written your screenplay is just as important as actually writing the script. Now that the bulk of the story is written, screenwriters may take the time to truly delve into the personality and progression of their characters. Without having this opportunity, it’s possible a screenplay would fall short of reaching its intended goal of realism and character diversity. Among the most important steps to complete during this process is exploring the scene-by-scene emotions of each character.
Delving into the emotional landscape of a character clarifies their mental state while providing a concise overview of each character. Exploring characters in this manner provides a clearer vantage point for the story as a whole; making it easier to spot holes and character personality weaknesses.
Before starting the analyzing process, determine what you’re looking for. While the specifics of this process is based on the personality of each character as well as screenplay topic/theme/story arcs, screenwriters should consider the following:
What is the emotional state of each character? This is very important to ensure interactions and progression is natural and fluid. The current emotional state of a character determines how they interact with one another, especially if the connection between the characters is thick with history.
According to the story line, are emotions correct? Based upon when the scene takes place in the scope of the story line, character emotions will be different. While reading the script, make sure character choices are in accordance to the actual story. Don’t let your character jump ahead or fall behind emotionally, which is very common in the first draft of screenplays.
Is too much being said? One of the main problems, especially for new screenwriters, is revealing too many emotions through dialogue and not enough through visual storytelling and acting subtext. When possible, always focus on reducing the amount of dialogue between characters. Strive to achieve dialogue goals with as few words as possible. Allow the visuals of film making space to tell the story while dialogue simply backs up the visuals.
Above all else, ensure the emotional landscape of each character fits into scene progressions without providing too much information that shouldn’t be revealed or holding back emotions that should be showcased.