Screenplay Character

AMBITION

Make your character's wants and needs "life or death". Set their ambitions as high as you can (appropriately, of course, to your story). Directly conflict the "life or death" ambitions of of your main character with those of competing characters. Make what your characters want drive all of their actions. The bigger, clearer, and more universal the ambitions the more you have to work with in telling a compelling story. What your characters want, and what they're willing to do to get it, is the at the heart and soul of your story--so do it up right!!

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EXERCISES:
  1. View the Gregory Peck film Moby Dick (1956). Consider how the captain's self-destructive obsession drives the story. When an obsession consumes a man to this degree, so much so that his evil matches that of his foe, what becomes the countervailing good?
  2. View the classic A Man for All Seasons (1966). Consider the wants and royal needs of the Robert Shaw character, King Henry VIII. How great are the stakes? What forces are arrayed against his getting what he wants? How does he overcome them?
  3. View the Sean Connery film The Man Who Would Be King (1975). Consider the impossible-seeming ambition of the lead characters, and how a force so all-consuming almost consumes them.