Character Maps

We are making character maps to analyze different characters from films. The central bubble has the character name and outer bubbles consist of appearance, thoughts and feelings, temperament, actions, speech, and function. Each outer bubble should have at least three details attached to it.

  • Appearance – Gender, age, clothing, hair, accessories, body type, socioeconomic status etc.
  • Thoughts and feelings – Internal emotions. What does character think? How does character see herself? What is he saying to himself(internal dialogue/subtext)? What motivates character? What does the character need? What is the character’s goal in life?
  • Temperament/Mood – What do others see about the character? How does she make them feel? How does character relate with others? Does the character have a flaw?
  • Actions – What does character do? What actions should be practiced? Does character move in a distinct way? Is there something that he does all the time that is central to the character?
  • Speech – How does character sound? What makes this character’s speech different from other characters? Does the character have a tag line?
  • Function – How does character function in the story?
    • Protagonist
    • Antagonist
    • Mentor
    • Tempter
    • Sidekick
    • Emotional
    • Logical
    • Love Interest
    • Comic Relief

Fillable Form on Google Docs

character map

Another important aspect of character is the character’s background. The back story can be very important when getting your actors to behave and react as this character will react. The other piece of background that you should actually include in your script is what the character was doing right before the scene we see.

Here is a link to character archetypes and stereotypes to help with the function bubble: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stock_characters

and another: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArchetypalCharacter

It is also very important that characters have a back story or history that motivates their actions. This history can be in narrative form. Examples:

The protagonist of Gone with the Wind, Scarlett is a dark-haired, green-eyed Georgia belle who struggles through the hardships of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Scarlett exhibits more of her father’s hard-headedness than her mother’s refined Southern manners. Although initially she tries to behave prettily, her instincts rise up against social restrictions. Determination defines Scarlett and drives her to achieve everything she desires by any means necessary. This determination first manifests itself in her narcissistic and sometimes backstabbing efforts to excite the admiration of every young man in the neighborhood. Later, under threat of starvation and even death, she is determined to survive and does so by picking cotton, running her entire plantation, forging a successful business, and even killing a man.

Scarlett also aims to win Ashley Wilkes, and her failure to do so guides the plot of the novel. Ashley’s marriage to Melanie Hamilton and rejection of Scarlett drive nearly all of Scarlett’s important subsequent decisions. Scarlett marries Charles Hamilton to hurt Ashley, stays by Melanie’s side through the war because she promises Ashley she will, and loses her true love, Rhett Butler, because of her persistent desire to win Ashley.

Scarlett possesses remarkable talent for business and leadership. She recovers her father’s plantation, Tara, after the war leaves it decimated, and she achieves great success with her sawmill in Atlanta. Despite her sharp intelligence, however, she has almost no ability to understand the motivations and feelings of herself or others. Scarlett lives her life rationally: she decides what constitutes success, finds the most effective means to succeed, and does not consider concepts like honor and kindness. She often professes to see no other choices than the ones she makes.

Scarlett’s development precisely mirrors the development of the South. She changes from spoiled teenager to hard-working widow to wealthy opportunist, reflecting the South’s change from leisure society to besieged nation to compromised survivor. Scarlett embodies both Old and New South. She clings to Ashley, who symbolizes the idealized lost world of chivalry and manners, but she adapts wonderfully to the harsh and opportunistic world of the New South, ultimately clinging to dangerous Rhett, who, like Scarlett, symbolizes the combination of old and new.

Other ideas:

This character is an abrupt and brusque personality. They have sneering disdain for everyone. They were brought up in a strict religious community. When they ran away from home they joined the navy. They married badly. When they served time for fraud they bought a rundown house in provincial France.

This character has a surly frown. They were brought up to believe in God and after leaving school they fell in with a bad crowd. They were widowed at a young age. When things went wrong they had a midlife crisis. Now they spend all day watching TV.

This character has narrow piercing eyes. The people they lived with were sweet as apple pie. They were brought up in a strict religious community and trained as a pilot. They have a tendency to exaggerate. They divorced after being caught cheating. Now they have a permanent tan.

 

Character Profile Worksheet
Basic Statistics

Name:
Age:
Nationality:
Socioeconomic Level as a child:
Socioeconomic Level as an adult:
Hometown:
Current Residence:
Occupation:
Income:
Talents/Skills:
Salary:
Birth order:
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant Others (describe relationship):
Relationship skills:

Physical Characteristics:

Height:
Weight:
Race:
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Glasses or contact lenses?
Skin color:
Shape of Face:
Distinguishing features:
How does he/she dress?
Mannerisms:
Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.)
Health:
Hobbies:
Favorite Sayings:
Speech patterns:
Disabilities:
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Greatest flaw:
Best quality:

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

Educational Background:
Intelligence Level:
Any Mental Illnesses?
Learning Experiences:
Character’s short-term goals in life:
Character’s long-term goals in life:
How does Character see himself/herself?
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
How self-confident is the character?
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
What would most embarass this character?

Emotional Characteristics

Strengths/Weaknesses:
Introvert or Extrovert?
How does the character deal with anger?
With sadness?
With conflict?
With change?
With loss?
What does the character want out of life?
What would the character like to change in his/her life?
What motivates this character?
What frightens this character?
What makes this character happy?
Is the character judgmental of others?
Is the character generous or stingy?
Is the character generally polite or rude?

Spiritual Characteristics

Does the character believe in God?
What are the character’s spiritual beliefs?
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life?
If so, what role does it play?

How the Character is Involved in the Story

Character’s role in the novel (main character? hero? heroine? Romantic interest? etc.):
Scene where character first appears:
Relationships with other characters:

1. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
2. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
3. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
4. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).

How character is different at the end of the movie from when the movie began:

Additional Notes on This Character:

 

 

 

 

 

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