Every action your main character takes should be toward achieving their objective. Of course, this means you have to know what their objective is up front. For example, in one of my favorite films “American President,” Annette Bening is a lobbyist who wants to get an environmental bill passed through Congress. That’s her objective. This is what pushes the story along. (Michael Douglas as President also has his objective which is to enjoy a full life while fulfilling his duties as president.)
Once you have established the character’s objective, then the obstacles you put in the way of your characters achieving their goal creates the plot. The idea is to build your plot by putting greater and greater obstacles in their way.
To overcome the obstacles and reach their goal, the character arc should be written so that they are required to transform something about themselves personally to be able to reach it. Until they transform that thing that has stopped them from being happy in life or having love, they cannot reach their goal.
When they DO transform it and face their fears in life, that creates your character arc. The combination of the character having an objective, then facing the obstacles, and then dealing with them in one way or another creates the meaning, the theme of your story. This is what moves your audience emotionally and deep inside and also is, ultimately, what attracts a star.
If your main character is the same at the end of the story as in the beginning, you don’t have a character arc. And you won’t get a Star actor interested. They want to play good, meaty roles where they transform.
To develop the arc, you can star to explore questions like this:
- What is my protagonist’s single, clear objective in the story?
- How does my character need to change to achieve her goal?
- Are the obstacles big enough to keep the audience interested?
- Why doesn’t he or she want to change?
- How will she be a new person if she changes?
- In which scene am I going to make her give in and finally change?
If you have a great character arc, you are much more likely to get a star interested. Stars have so many scripts to choose from that you need to do everything you can to make your character be one they would love to play. If you put a big character arc in your story, that will add greatly to its appeal.
If you aren’t sure how to do that, you can continue to study screenwriting with books by such top authors and instructors as Linda Seger, Syd Field, Robert McKee, and John Truby. I studied them all as a foundation to my own understanding. Then ultimately, it is a good idea to get a script review at by a professional script analyst.
Once you are confident your script is good to go, then you will want to market your script. One of the most effective ways to get your script into the hands of the right movie producers, literary agents, and literary managers is through query letter marketing.
If you want assistance with selling your screenplay or any other script services, Smart Girls Productions can help you create a query letter from scratch, pick the best Hollywood producers and agents to mail to, and can include anyone that you want to send it to. If you have a particular Movie Star in mind, for example, we can track down their production company address or their representatives to make sure it gets to them — or their people anyway.
Here’s wishing you peaceful thoughts and clarity as you create characters that appeal to the biggest stars in the business. Please share any thoughts or experiences you have with this below.