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100 Examples on How to Introduce Characters in Your Screenplay

100 Examples on How to Introduce Characters in Your Screenplay

Introducing characters in your screenplay can be a make-it-or-break-it moment to keep your reader engaged.

If we know that the main character’s name should be in CAPITAL LETTERS when first introduced and that her/his age should be in parenthesis, there are still multiple ways to go about when describing ‘the rest’.

I find it personally extremely difficult to introduce my characters in my screenplay, I always feel that I’m saying either too much or not enough so, following the same logic that pushed me to create How Did They Write It, I decided to go through my library of screenplays and select over 100 examples of character introduction, to see how others did it.

Unsurprisingly, I discovered that there are as many ways to introduce a character as there are screenwriters. Some screenwriters go full force in their description and some barely bother giving out the name of the character.

It is also good to notice that the tone use to describe the characters need to match the genre. Comedy in that case, is a real writer pleasure as you can be very creative in your character description.

Below are a few examples from HDTWI: 100 Characters: 

INTRODUCING YOUR MAIN CHARACTER IN ACTION

 INTRODUCING HISTORICAL FIGURES

INTRODUCING A CHARACTER WITH HUMOR

The complete list of the screenplays used

  1. About Schmidt
  2. Adaptation
  3. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
  4. American Beauty
  5. An Education
  6. Attack the Block
  7. Back to the Future
  8. Blue Valentine
  9. Butter
  10. Casablanca
  11. Children of Men 
  12. Cloud Atlas
  13. Crazy Stupid Love
  14. Django Unchained
  15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  16. Fight Club
  17. Frost/Nixon
  18. Gone Girl
  19. Good Will Hunting
  20. Gravity
  21. Hitchcock
  22. In Bruges
  23. Jackie Brown
  24. L.A. Confidential
  25. Little Miss Sunshine
  26. Looper
  27. Lost In Translation
  28. Memento
  29. Midnight Express
  30. Middle of Nowhere
  31. Moon
  32. Mother and Child
  33. Please Give
  34. Requiem for a Dream
  35. Sex, Lies and Videotape
  36. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
  37. Short Term 12
  38. Shutter Island
  39. Silver Lining Playbook
  40. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  41. The King’s Speech
  42. The Place Beyond the Pines
  43. The Runaways
  44. The Wrestler
  45. There Wille Be Blood
  46. Tootsie
  47. Welcome to the People