Character studies are also known as character explorations. They are a scriptwriting technique that helps writers and directors fully understand their characters.

If a writer feels they are on the right track with a script, a character study will help to further develop the character and make certain plot points much clearer.

A character study is usually conducted with each main character in the film and is typically done before writing takes place.

It involves getting inside the head of the character to really understand who they are and what drives them to do things.

The study will help drive plot points, dialogue, and motivations within the script as well as help flesh out the story.

What Is a character study

What Is a character study?

A character study is a film that focuses on the development of one or more characters within the film, rather than on plot.

Films like these can be described as “character pieces” or “character dramas”. The main focus is the growth and change in a character throughout the course of the film.

Character studies have been a staple of fiction writing for hundreds of years. It’s only in the last century, though, that the character study has become a prominent part of film.

Character studies are an exploration of one or more characters, who are the focus of the story. These can be dramatic, comedic, tragic or a mix.

A character study is almost never just one person; it’s an ensemble cast. Even if there are only two characters in a film, they’ll always be interacting with each other and building off each other’s actions and dialogue to move the story forward.



What Is A Character Study In Film?

It’s hard to point to any one film and definitively call it a character study without risking argument, because every film has some degree of plot and every character goes through some sort of change by the end of the film.

For example, even something as plot-driven as Titanic has a character-driven subplot about Rose’s growth from a sheltered woman to an independent thinker.

The best examples of character studies are great because they put us in the shoes of their main characters. We see what they see and feel what they feel.

These films actively involve us in their stories so that we become completely invested in them.

This can’t be accomplished with any degree of plot-driven entertainment, because we need to know exactly who these characters are and feel sympathetic towards them before we will invest ourselves in them.

A great example is Scorsese’s Taxi Driver where we get inside Travis Bickle’s mind and understand his isolation from society.

Character Study In Movies

There are so many interesting things that can be said about a character. It is important to know what you want to say about your character and then look for the details in the script that will help you to prove it.

Tone is the mood of your writing. There are four different tones that you can use when writing about a character, and each one can have an effect on how people will perceive your character.

The tone of your character study should be the same throughout, but you should also remember to use various sentence structures and vocabulary words, so it doesn’ sound too dull.

  • The Objective Tone, which sounds as though it’s written by someone who has just witnessed the event or who has no particular feelings toward the character. 
  • The Emotional Tone, which sounds as though it was written by someone who cared deeply for the character and may be written in memory of the character or someone involved with the story.
  • The Biographical Tone, which is a factual description of events in order: birth, childhood, education, and finally death. This tone may also be used in a plot summary or an analysis of a work of literature.
  • The Critical Tone, which sounds almost sarcastic towards the subject.

Writing A Character Study In A Screenplay

Screenwriting is a hard enough job without having to worry about how to write a character study in a screenplay.

The screenwriter must be able to develop the main character as well as all the others in order for the script to have a smooth flow. If a writer cannot do this, then the story will come out patchy and incomplete.

Tone and voice are two of the most important elements when writing a character study in a screenplay. A narrator’s tone is his unique way of speaking to the audience which gives them clues to the type of person he or she is.

For example, if a narrator speaks in an excited tone, it can mean that this particular character is excitable, nervous, or eager. The tone of your narration can be used to set up your characters’ personalities for your audience.

The voice of your narrator is similar but not quite the same as their tone. A voice gives more insight into who a character really is and what they think about themselves and their actions. 

By using the right voice, you are able to create complex characters with layers of personality. 

Writing A Character Study For Film

Character studies are not just a guide for casting directors or agents. These are also specific to the writing of scripts. 

Character studies are used in scriptwriting so that the writer can show their characters in an understandable way, and can help writers when creating an effective story.

Te better written a character study is, the more understanding of that character the reader will be.

The best way to write a character study is to think about what you are going to write about before you actually start writing. 

Where do they come from? How old could they be? 

What kind of family do they come from? Are they married or single and do they have any children? 

All of these things will help you when you’re trying to create your script and it’s important to know as much as possible about your character beforehand so that you don’t leave anything out.

It’s also important that the writer includes all of ther own personal ideas and thoughts on their characters when they write a character study because if they don’t, then there won’t be anything personal about it and it will leave the reader feeling like something is missing.

Classic Character Study Movies

Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, released in 1954, is a classic example of a character study film. The movie is all about the characters, and it’s the characters that are the heart of this movie.

The film takes us into a world where samurai and villagers are trying to survive together during times of hardship. The samurai live in the village but they must be prepared at any moment to defend themselves against invaders.

They serve as protectors of the villagers and are paid by rice and whatever else they may need. The villagers work hard to provide for the samurai and for themselves. 

The movie follows these characters as they prepare for an attack by bandits, and we see how each of them deals with their responsibilities as well as their fears.<br />

The most important thing about classic character study movies is that every single character is given a lot of screen time and development. These are not just stereotypical characters; there is much more depth than you usually see in films like this.

You feel like you really know the characters by the end, even if you don’t like them.

Recent Character Study Movies

Character studies can be good for movie-goers because it connects them to the film on a more personal level than other types of movies do.


Characters can make or break a movie. With so many films released each year, character studies have been on the rise; these films revolve around the characters and their stories — not the overall plot.

These films are usually autobiographical or they are inspired by events in the director’s lives. Pixar’s Up is an example of one of these movies.

 It is about an old man who flies a house to South America in order to fulfill his promise to his deceased wife. The story shows how he copes with losing his wife and finding happiness again. 

Character studies are also evident in popular television shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

They aren’t focused on plot; instead, they focus on the characters’ inner conflicts and how they deal with them. These conflicts are what makes these shows so interesting to watch.