“Many, perhaps, from so simple a flower,
This little lesson may borrow,
Patient today, through its gloomiest hour,
We come out into the brighter tomorrow.”
~ Emily Dickinson
CHARACTERIZATION TIPS FOR WRITERS & FILMMAKERS
By Elizabeth English
For a successful, sellable story, writers and filmmakers need to flesh out their characters, protagonists, antagonists, and secondary ones, and make them memorable, relatable, and help them stand out from each other as individuals.
- Identifying characteristics: Characters can, of course, and should, have more than one identifying characteristic. Here are some characterization ideas you can incorporate in your stories: A character’s suppositions, reminiscences, dreams, recollections, theories, plans, guesses, ideas, hopes, explanations, stories, past, fears, problems, anecdotes, failures & successes, illusions, decisions, compromises, attitudes, announcements, opinions,…and so on.
- Personality characteristics matter, too, and help the reader identify each character as separate and different from others in the story. Here are some ideas that can set each character apart and make him or her memorable: does the person smoke cigars, chew gum, walk with a limp, have shifty eyes, wear funny hats, have a long beard, wear sexy clothing, walks too fast or slow, is depressed, grieving, shy, fearful, ambitious, suspicious, is secretive, wears cheap, dirty clothes, is overbearing, nosy, is a gossip, wears couture clothing, acts childish, is loud or quiet, is rude, is a comedian, is sad or blue, is always happy, is a joker, drives too fast or too slow, loves sports, is afraid of cats, is from a foreign country, speaks with an accent, is a couch-potato, eats too much, always on a diet, plays video games, loves music, and so on.
- Physical characteristics help the reader identify each character as separate and different from others in the story. The characters can be tall and lanky, short and pudgy, have wild red hair or is bald, is fat, thin, muscled, weak, scrawny, tough-looking, wears a beard, wears glasses, is hearing-impaired, has a big nose or ears, is on crutches or in a wheelchair, is old, young or in-between, different ethnic origins, smiles a lot or never smiles, and more.
- What do your characters do? Everyone has different careers, interests and proclivities, and they can make the character more relatable and differentiate him or her from other characters, and can add unexpected elements to the story, as well: is the character a policeman or policewoman, a spy, a cowboy, a hobo, a chef, an artist, auto-repairman, truck driver, school teacher, astronaut, musician, bum, is homeless, is an artist, singer, showgirl, dancer, lawyer, plumber, carpenter, filmmaker, Buddhist, sailor, fisherman, hunter, waitress, circus performer, writer, tennis pro, housewife, salesperson, pilot, storekeeper, innkeeper, rancher, professor, scientist, short-order cook, train engineer, ship captain, mother or father, uncle or aunt, grandparent, sports figure, private detective, skateboarder, wrestler, boxer, dog trainer, banker, bus driver, taxi-driver, unemployed, landlord or landlady, swimmer, hiker, horseman or horsewoman, criminal, gardener….and etc.
Personalities and quirks, physical descriptions and manner of communicating and moving through the story, interacting with other characters in their individual manner, all create a viable, more interesting and readable script and story and cinematic experience.
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
“Nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself.” ~ Liberace
Photo by Dominique Browning
“The time will come when winter will ask you what you did all summer.” ~ Henry Clay
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” ~Albert Einstein
“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, more violent. But it takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move in the opposite direction.” ~ E. F. Schmucher
“We ought to do good to others as simply as the vine bears its grapes, season after season, without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
“Look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Only then will our world know the blessings of peace.” ~ W. E. Gladstone
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
For those of you who celebrate it,
Moondance is grateful to all Moondancers for your ongoing support,
your participation in the annual competitions & attendance at the film festivals! […]
Colorado aspen trees, Photo by vitya_maly
The shimmering leaves of the quaking aspen, the quintessential Colorado tree, turn to glowing shades of yellow and gold this time of year, here in the Rocky Mountains. The Native American myth told about the reason the leaves shake as they do in the wind is that the god Manito asked all trees to bow down before him, to show respect, but the aspen tree refused to do so, saying it was more beautiful than any of the other trees, and so Manito declared that whenever he blew through the forest on the slightest breeze, the aspen would forever quake in fear. […]
DON’T WALK! ACTION TIP FOR WRITERS:
By Elizabeth English
Writers should try to avoid using the simple verb, “walk”, whenever possible! Why have your character just walk into a room or across the road? It tells the reader almost nothing about the character’s current mood, personality, intent, feelings, or how he or she presents him- or herself, or how anyone might react to the character. Here’s a chance to show the reader more about the character, and to set up a sense of who this person is, and what to expect! A super-confident person may saunter or swagger or stroll across a room; a person with a lack of purpose may amble, mosey, shuffle or shamble in; an angry person may march or clomp across the room; a person with ill-intent may sneak, stalk or stomp along the street, and so on. Use your options, and get out that Thesaurus to help characterize the actions and reactions in your story!
Photo by Clark Little
2014 MOONDANCERS MADE A BIG SPLASH!
>>>>>>>>> MOONDANCE 2014 PHOTOS ARE HERE: <<<<<<<<<
Photos by Jessica Rose Studnick & Arden Tuncer
Doria & Markus
Joseph & Sandra Consentino
Rahman & Mahmoud
David, Le Le & Sam
Congratulations, 2014 Moondance Winners!
All of the exceptionally talented & creative 2014 Moondance winners are to be congratulated on their wonderful projects submitted to the film festival. Bravo & brava! Applause & big hugs all around! You will find that doors will open for you as a Moondance winner. Please let us know of your successes!
• TO SEE THE WINNERS LIST, GO HERE.
• TO SEE WHAT EACH OF THE AWARD CATEGORIES MEAN, GO HERE.
• TO SEE THE LIST OF AUDIENCE FAVORITE FILMS, GO HERE.
• If you were unable to attend the gala event, networking with people from the US & around the world, and want to receive your Moondance star award & official certificate, please GO HERE FOR THE ORDER FORM.The award & certificate are free, only the postage to mail it to you is needed. This offer expires on November 30, 2014.
• THE 2014 MOONDANCE LAURELS for finalists, winners, selected films & audience favorite films are HERE. […]
2014 MOONDANCE’S VERY SPECIAL GUEST
Read the exclusive interview & article with the “Breaking Bad” co-star on the front page of the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper’s Entertainment section: http://www.dailycamera.com/Entertainment/ci_26569088/Breaking-Bad-villain-headlines-Boulders-Moondance-International-Film-Festival
Giancarlo Esposito, multi-award-winning actor, has graciously offered to conduct 3 private, one-on-one consultations, one each day at Moondance, to actors who are very serious about pursuing their craft in film, television & stage, and who will have work prepared to review, critique and finesse so that he would have the ability to give you some valuable direction and insider tips. Half-hour consultations are $500, and full one-hour consultations are $1000, available only at the box office during the festival. Please see festival director, Elizabeth English, to review your credits for potential selection of those 3 lucky actors who will be selected for this very exclusive consultation opportunity! […]
WELCOME TO THE 2014
MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL!
September 26, 27, 28
Beautiful Boulder, Colorado USA […]
Mermaid figurehead by Jan Reichard
THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST IN THE MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL!
Congratulations to all our talented filmmakers!
2014 LIST OF SELECTED FILM TITLES! […]
Desperately seeking the 2014 list of finalists? Just click this link:
If you’re a finalist for 2014, you can find & download the finalist laurels here:
We sincerely apologize for the glitch with the finalist & laurels links in the most recent news-blog,
but we think some blog gremlins must have been playing around in the background!
We offered them free film tickets & buttered popcorn, and all’s well now!
Technology is great – when it works, right?
September 26-28, 2014 • Boulder, Colorado USA