Screenplay writing: How specific can you get for physical character description?
I know that you must limited your character physical description as much as possible so it opens up the casting possibilities and easier to find the actor/actress however some characters I have designed have specific looks and have always looked like that since day one when I created them, most of the time it’s because it shows off their personality/past. Let me give you some examples (names have been changed).
She is half Asian, half British/American. This was due to her father’s love for everything Asian and fell in love with an Asian lady. She has ‘tattoos’ on her left arm and leg which glows whenever she uses her powers (yay magic). She has pure white skins with white hair and red eyes (albino) except a strip of red in her hair. She likes to keep it cut just above her shoulders.
She dies her hair red and keeps it in a bobble as it is very long as she keeps the length to represent how much “borrowed time” she is living on. She likes to wear a red leather jacket with short sleeves and carries a sword.
In the sequel she cuts her hair to a short choppy cut and dies it black with various red dies in it as a way to fell “re-born”.
She is bullied often for her ginger hair and freckles, one of the reasons why she goes through her depression stage.
In his human form he is naturally bold however in his magic form he has beautiful long hair as in his magic form he gets to choose how he looks and he wanted long hair.
There are of course many characters who I’m not bothered what they look like, I am never fussed with eye colour (except with Sarah). Will this be acceptable or should I be less specific? It’s gonna be weird to see the character different from what the vision I’ve had since I was a teenager. Note, if these goes through I will also be directing them.
- LoudLonLv 69 years agoFavorite Answer
That's both too much description and not enough. Too much in that it's like reading a laundry list; not enough in that you're not really painting an overall picture of who that person is on the whole.
Brass tacks: nobody's going to care what your characters look like. Leave out WHAT they are -- stuff like height, weight, hair color, ethnicity, etc (unless it's absolutely vital to the story) and focus instead on WHAT they are -- their personality traits, quirks, demeanors. In describing a character you want to evoke their essence. Here are two examples of a character description; only one of them would be acceptable.
1. BRAD. Six and a half feet tall, black hair, blue eyes. Dressed in blue jeans and a tee-shirt. You can't tell by looking at him but he's a great cook.
2. BRAD. Well groomed, an easy smile, always the smartest guy in the room but would never say so.
The first description is the kind of stuff which doesn't matter. They're inconsequentials. The second description tells you a lot about the guy. He takes care of himself, he's laid back, he's good-natured, he's highly intelligent and he's modest. That's the juicy stuff, the important stuff, the things which tell you the kind of person he is.
That's what you want to evoke in your character descriptions. Good luck. Keep writing.Source(s): I'm a purchased screenwriter.
- 9 years ago
You can get as descriptive as you feel that you need to be. If you find an actor or actress that fits the vast majority of the description I am sure there can be concessions made in order to get the best person possible for the part.
Your descriptions were as descriptive as I have seen in other screenplays that I have read. I haven't read an incredible amount, but have read at least 40 screenplays over the past 14 years and most had very similar length and style for descriptions.
Good Luck on the screenplay.
- ErikaLv 44 years ago
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