GET REPPED NOW! is on the horizon once again (3/13 through 5/15,) and we really want you guys to do well. Hence, we’ve decided to post screenwriting tips right here every week.
Today, let’s talk about…
Writing Snazzy Character Intros
Screenplay writing is all about efficiency of prose. Nobody wants to read endless chunks of text. However, we still have to convey what an audience (or reader) should see.
Character intros are important for several reasons. Number one: they give a hint as to the type of performer who should be playing this character. Number two: they paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Number three: they show off our writerly voice.
Here is an example of WHAT NOT TO DO:
JENNIFER (32), brown hair and medium build, enters the room.
Bad! Why? Apart from the boring prose, most of the given info is unimportant. First of all, the writer has no control over who will be playing “Jennifer” and what the color of her hair will be. Secondly, and most important of all, this intro doesn’t tell us anything about Jennifer. Who is she? What is the reader supposed to see?
There is a huge difference between:
JENNIFER (32,) disappearing in oversized clothes and gaze firmly planted on her shoes, slouches into the room;
JENNIFER, 32 but going on 16, stumbles into the room, makeup smeared and holding a broken Manolo Blahnik heel;
JENNIFER (32,) composed and regal, strides in as she exhales a plume of cigar smoke.
Three very different Jennifers and three very different pictures.
Keep the reader interested, paint a compelling picture, and show off your skill to create a distinct character with an economy of words. The reader will thank you.
Remember, character intros are a key way to show off your voice. A sharp, concise, clever character intro will not only give readers (and actors) a clear idea of who this person is at a glance, but perhaps more importantly, it sells you as a writing force to be reckoned with.
As you already know, we’re always here for questions (and the answers are free). [email protected]