How to add character description in screenplay format?


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Thread: How to add character description in screenplay format?

  1. #1

    Question How to add character description in screenplay format?

    I'm new to the field of screenwriting. And have deadlines looming fast! My character appearances I feel do a lot to establish background and/or personality. How do I include this in screenplay format?

    Thanks for any help!
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  2. #2
    For starters, be careful not to write too much about a character right from the beginning. Give only what is necessary for the corresponding scene to be understood. You can save details for later parts of the story.
    I'll give you an example from a screenplay I wrote some time ago:

    WHINY CUSTOMER
    Why is it that we always have to
    eat undercooked meat? Is this done
    on purpose or what?

    The waitress doesn't look embarrased or angry. She's used to
    it. This is EMILY QUINN, early 20s, fresh and cute, typical
    waitress attire, but above all: she has a short, RED hair.

    EMILY
    Yeah, right.
    I gave a quick description of Emily's physique, to make it easy for the reader to picture what she looks like. I didn't give an in-depth review of her personality or background, because it doesn't matter in this scene. Also, those two elements will be shown later by her acts and dialogues.
    I capitalized the color of her hair not because it is cool, but because it will become significant for the story later on.

    For minor characters who may appear only in a few scenes, give very short descriptions. There's no point in writing a large paragraph for a guy who won't play an important role in the story.
    The youngest soldier of the bunch seems perplexed. This is
    JEREMY, bright eyes and affable face. He turns to the
    soldier next to him, MAURICE, a well-built man.
    I hope this helped!

    EDIT: whoops, I didn't notice this thread was made nearly a month ago. It's a bit strange that there are no replies, though.
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  3. #3
    I would say that if the character you're describing is more important (protagonist, antagonist, or an immediate associate of theirs), then have a longer description. But no more than 3-4 sentences. Otherwise, a quick 1-2-3 description would suffice.

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