The quest of most writers is to create screenplays rich with individuality and realistic characters. While many screenwriters have brilliant ideas in terms of story, many have a difficult time creating interesting and realistically thick characters. While many techniques may be used to satisfy this goal, the most effective is approaching every character with a psychiatric approach.
In order to keep your characters centered in reality, you must consider them real. Part of doing so is treating them with psychiatric care.
Present mental states determine not only how a character reacts with his world, but how the story can progress. While your character may not feature an extreme mental condition, the everyday influences and objectives play a significant role.
How the character feels internally and how he regards specific situations directly affects how he interacts with his world and those around him. The process in which the screenwriter sets up current mental spaces depends on how he wishes to create his character.
Diagnosing Mental Conditions
Perhaps one of the most interesting character development techniques is diagnosing your characters with a mental condition. Even characters who are standard/average have some sort of mental condition that affects how they interact with others and how they view themselves. To begin this process, you must first find the outlining, or most visible, mental drawback.
For example, your character features low self-esteem. Now that you’ve figured out the first step, define how this internal element showcases itself. Since the character features low self-esteem, perhaps he doesn’t talk to strangers at parties even though he wants to. Next, figure out why the character has low self-esteem. Perhaps when he was a child a school bully said he was fat and ugly. While year ago, this simple statement made by a child stuck and festered throughout the years.
After you’ve determined what mental condition is for the character, you must decide how this condition affects his relationships and ability to accomplish goals/objectives. Does the character utilize this condition as a strength or does it hold him back? Does the character lie regarding his true inward feelings?
Of course, the above example is fairly simplistic. The scope of character mental states must be as varied and complex as the scope of human mental conditions. If you’re unsure how to progress in this step, take time to research mental conditions (both common and rare). Approaching your character as a real person and diagnosing them as such provides a rare level of realism and showcases a dedication by the screenwriter to produce a complex and multi-faceted character.