Receiving a RECOMMEND requires connecting with your audience i.e., your reader, your producer. So, how do you make an emotional connection?
Create Relatable and Remarkable Characters: Develop dimensional, relatable characters with flaws, strengths, and relatable motivations. Make the audience care about what happens to them. Give them relatable qualities and experiences that resonate with your target audience. This means giving them moral choices to make and defining moments.
Establish Clear, Worthy Goals and Motivations: Clearly define what your characters want and why they want it. The audience should understand and empathize with their desires and motivations. When the audience can relate to a character's goals, it becomes emotionally invested in their journey. The goal should be worhty and meaningful to the character as well as to the audience. There should also be stakes.
Build Conflict and Tension: Conflict and Tension are at the heart of all storytelling. Introduce obstacles, challenges, complications, and antagonists that create tension and drive the plot forward. When characters face adversity, the audience roots for them to overcome it, forging an emotional connection.
Show Vulnerability: Allow your characters to be vulnerable. Show their fears, insecurities, and doubts. When characters reveal their inner struggles, it humanizes them and makes the audience more emotionally invested in their well-being. The audience doesn't want perfect characters.
Meaningful Dialogue: Meaningful dialogue can convey emotions effectively. Use subtext, body language, and well-crafted dialogue to reveal characters' feelings and intentions. Avoid on-the-nose dialogue that explicitly states emotions; instead, let the audience infer them.
Show, Don't Tell: Instead of telling the audience how a character feels, show it through actions, expressions, and situations. For example, if a character is grieving, show their sadness through their actions and interactions rather than telling the audience they are sad.
Create Empathy Through Backstories: Develop compelling backstories for your characters that explain their behavior and motivations. When the audience understands what led a character to their current situation, they are more likely to empathize with them. What is your character's backstory? What triggers them?
Use Symbolism, Metaphors, and Visual Storytelling: Employ symbolism and metaphors to convey deeper emotions and themes. Visual and thematic motifs can resonate on a subconscious level and add depth to the emotional experience.
Craft Memorable Defining Moments: Include powerful, emotionally charged scenes or moments that resonate with the audience. These can be turning points, revelations, or moments of catharsis that leave a lasting impact. These are the defining moments for your characters.
Script Emotions: Share your screenplay and get feedback. Pay attention to how they react emotionally to the story. Their responses can help you gauge whether your screenplay is effectively connecting with its audience.
When I finish reading a script, I always ask if the story and the characters have provided an emotional journey.