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The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 6 of 21

Creating Supporting Character(s) & Antagonist


The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 6 of 21

Creating Supporting Character(s) & Antagonist


Lesson Info

Creating Supporting Character(s) & Antagonist

As we go on with characters we talk about supporting characters and antagonised um supporting characters relationships to find character so if you have your lead character they have to be in the presence of other people who have some kind of relationship with him positive negative, big small but they have to interact and I think that lead characters generally need at least one person that they can talk to in a way they can't talk to anyone else now I don't mean it has to be the confessor or whatever but they have to have an outlet so that you're not staring at somebody who's thinking during the whole screenplay right um and they're obviously not going to tell their enemies what they would tell their friends so you need relationships everybody has to have him bleed the antagonist the supporting characters everybody has to have relationships because it reveals and defines character I think supporting characters should reflect an aspect of the lead one example is this is a younger guy and...

he's what the way I used to be this is an older guy and that's the guy that's the kind of person I want to be or it's the kind of person I don't want to be this is a person of the opposite of me they all seemed tohave a chemistry with the lead character I think that should be there it doesn't always have to be there in a great degree but there is something about the supporting character that reflects an aspect of lead either the opposite or similar or whatever it is used to be going to be doesn't want to be that kind of thing um types of supporting characters with this positive types obviously you need the friend the best friend, the friend, the partner, that kind of thing lover a lot of times and stories this actually comes about during the story um but you do need tohave at least somebody that's there from the beginning of the story because when you introduce us to your character, they're goingto have to have somebody there interacting with, um the mentor this is a person that I can tell them things they need to know help them out in their struggle on their journey. Now, it's not somebody who has all the answers because you can't have that you have to have the hero find out whatever they have to find out along the way, but they can be an important help along the way um then you have negative supporting characters and this is not the antagonist negative supporting characters you have a rival, somebody who once a lot of the same thing, they're wants the same thing but it's not the antagonise, just somebody these are people who come in and complicate the whole process in addition to the antagonism there's the hater I just call him the hater it's the person who just takes the lead character and I don't know I found out what you want I'm going to do something to screw it up not the antagonist just to get you um sometimes that is the rival the pseudo friend the person who one way to handle it is they start off and we all including lee character think the day is it is a friend this person betrays them this person was really never there friend sometimes you have something where you have a story where we know that person is a suit of friends but it's an interesting relationship tohave in there because they're going to these are people who create problems aside from the antagonist um the antagonise the most important thing about antagonised is here she is the protagonist of his or her own story there is a version of the story where this is the hero in your hero is villain that's their story that's what makes him three dimensional? They're human they have objectives, they have something they want um so it's important to think about your antagonists in this way they should be a worthy adversary of the lead, the less of an adversary and the less of a problem in the smaller a person the antagonist is same thing happens to your lead character because it doesn't take a cz much to go against that person so you don't the lead character is it is big need a worthy adversary for your lead character make him both strong um and antagonised is a reflection of the lead as well the kind of person I don't want to be the kind of person I used to be a theocracy it of me it's the same kind of thing to some reflection there um a person that I secretly really do you want to be but I'm changing my mind about it now uh person I thought I wanted to be so think of all characters as being some kind of reflection of an aspect of your lead character um I think you should write experimental scenes they're not going to be in your script experimental scenes in which the villain is the hero in the heroes the villains like maybe right half of an act fifteen pages or something but really get into it as if the antagonised is the hero protagonist is the villain and see what kind of chemical dynamic you're creating in terms of understanding the three dimensionality of both of them. By the way, because your hero isn't perfect your hero isn't you know somebody on a pedestal um it's a good way also in addition to dealing with the antagonistic to see all the flaws of your of your protagonist a character or a roll when you're writing your characters, you're writing characters, you're writing three dimensional characters doing it really well, you're making them all live and breathe. Are you writing a role? What is a role? Is it any different than the character? Well, they're indistinguishable, but they are different it's a mate is just a way that I want you to think, and this is a way of feeling, probably more intuitive of whether all the roles the characters in your script are full enough are living enough, even small ones, because when you have a small character it's only because in your story they are they're only there for that portion that they're in. That doesn't mean they aren't a full person. Um, so I used the word role because I want you to read your script and read like an actor because the difference between character and roll is when an actor read your script, a role is what there is your you wrote a character and other people read characters too, but an actor reads a role do this with all the characters, the ones that are significant upto have a name and and have a scene and just get a sense of is there enough fullness to them, no matter how small it is that they really do exist enough that an actor you're going to pretend you're going to plan you're going to pretend you're going to play even one scene that's all this person has pretend you're going to play it is there this feeling to it and I don't even know if it makes you change anything on paper it's just a way to get the feeling of have I done everything I can to actually make every character a roll there will be played by an actor because they will hopefully have a quick question just about you're talking about the fullness of the character and some thing I notice is that the characters are unique and they've got strong personalities and their memorable almost too like a can be a stylized fashion like sin city or something like that or it's like each person is just could almost have a movie just by themselves so I think it's just it seems like that would be the tendency is that each individual you know has so much going on that uh you know christopher walken would play anything you know what I mean like you know what I mean like uh that it is this interesting so I just keep seeing it like is uh almost stylized and not natural not natural to do what that is so stylized that there's just such a strong personality they're just, um like I just think for like in my story, for example, is like a couple of wavy tex that you know, one's kind of frumpy and slow, you know and colic and animation how you have different silhouettes is kind of how I think about so it's like you got the rules skinny guy and they got the short guy and they got a gal you know? And they're all very different with their own comedic timing and stuff like that, but it seems like I keep wanting to just punched it up more right? And I'm not encouraging to do that I mean, yeah, you're all the characters in your script are there for the reason they're there and, you know, I don't wait up like start writing all of them really big scenes or doing too much it's just the feeling that whoever that person is that came into your story and went back out is a full person even if that's all we got of them here, um I like how quentin tarantino does that, um he had it seems like everybody who appears has something going on that's, you know, not necessarily part of the story, but they just seem fraught with it there's a movie called body heat in which the lead character william hurt goes teo get advice on howto commit arson and he meets up with a bomb maker who gives him advice it's one scene the only seen that that character has the movie and the person gives him the advice well, it was played by mickey rourke and it launched his career as one thing it was he was so good it almost attracted from the stylistic wholeness of the rest of the film not quite, but in any case really a stand out now I'm not saying I want all of your smallest parts to steal your story but it's a good example of how everybody has a certain amount of weight to the questions about heroes villains supporting characters no one other question uh um about how you're saying to flip the antagonist in the protagonist and it just got me thinking that the from my situation that protagonists he's willing to do whatever it takes for others and then add antagonised is all about her so I was trying to figure out so how would I flipped him then? You know what I mean? It's it's kind of like that. I mean, there are there are stories where the where the protagonist is all about herself himself I mean, you have to approach it that way. How could I get is let us let out. Yeah, like I said it's an experimental writing process it's like half an act maybe a maybe thirty pages maybe just fifteen whatever it's just to get that feel um why don't you tell me whatever you tell me actually mad about your lead character and a supporting character and what you're writing just briefly sure lead character is a kind of selfish ignorant uh a guy who's very inception confident about what he does and some supporting characters are people are they know how to do what he wants to do better than he does but they're not nearly as confident so I guess it's a lot of conflict from that so you have supporting characters who are also not no so he's very confident but he's inept they are, um their skilled but they're not nearly as driven or confident about what he can do is he is right yeah, but there's a differences between the supporting characters yes right. Okay. And that's good because that's a reflection of him so yeah that's right there yeah, I kind of thing I'm talking about yeah, the idea is that all the supporting characters just bring out specific shades of him, right? So, um tell me about you're leading your supporting uh, so I was actually thinking about it in terms that I don't think I haven't antagonistic I think I just have a lot of really well intentioned supporting characters that cause a lot of conflict, right? Right, although in antagonise khun b somebody who has good intentions but is doing nothing but stopping yeah um so my main character is this immature, charming man and he is a father of two little girls, and his wife has had a terrible accident, so his wife's best friend and sister are trying to help him with the girls while the wife is in the hospital, and they're just both very present and overbearing, and he doesn't have any time alone to process what's going on and it's kind of changing his dynamic with his daughters and the stress that he feels and just forcing him into these other rules that he hasn't played because of his charm. He's always been very able to get by, like, kind of like the fun, goofy and mature dad right now has to take yeah, billing and what? What about one of the supporting eso the sister, I guess, is the issue, the younger sister of the of the woman who had an accident and she's very judgmental she's a school teacher, she's very president she's trying to set a lot of structure that wasn't there before, even when the mom was present, they kind of had a playful relationship parenting relationship and she's there just tryingto make a routine and be present for the kid's, while the other one is just trying to the friend of the mom and the family is just trying to create more fun to distract the girls. From the fact that their mother had an accident and she just tryingto bring more games and entertainment and a lot of crazy activity that are just both really overbearing for the father who is still trying to keep like his version of normal right right that's good you have very, very specific rolls there I mean, I've seen roles that went for me what they're doing in your story is very clear and that reflects the lead you have been differences between those two supporting character um, what would be your head? It was kind of trying to see which one of the girls is more antagonizing, but I guess he kind of turned into his own antagonistic. He starts losing patients and making reckless decisions and he's going to win the antagonizing the girls both of the women who were helping and creating conflict. This relationship with this daughters, I guess, right? Well, I mean, the lead character against himself is a legitimate way to go with a story that can happen your your own antagonise. I think in cases like that they're they're usually needs to be at least somebody who is somehow helping facilitate or push the lead character into being his only antagonised doesn't make them the antagonist but just needs to have a character there that sort of helping him be his own attack, so to speak enabling right

Class Description

Screenwriting classes often either lean too heavily on theory or simply study the technical approach to writing without a greater context for its use, as if the act of screenwriting exists in a vacuum – it does not. In The Screenwriters Toolkit with Jim Uhls, you’ll learn both the nuts and bolts of the craft, as well as its relationship to getting your work read and ultimately produced.

Jim’s sceenwriting credits include the modern classic “Fight Club” the feature-film "Jumper" the NBC television film "Semper Fi" and the SyFy miniseries "Spin" In this class, he’ll share lessons from his extensive experience writing for Hollywood and the small screen. He’ll teach you how to develop better scripts, get traction for your projects, and navigate the complex professional landscape of script development.

You’ll learn about screenwriting form and content, including:

  • Vocabulary and formats
  • Dialogue vs silence
  • Adapting existing works for the screen
  • Genre-writing

Jim will also share essential insights on developing a career in screenwriting. 

You’ll learn:

  • The differences between writing for television and features
  • Who to work with: agents vs managers vs lawyers
  • How to obtain and manage projects of various sizes and contexts

The Screenwriters Toolkit is a comprehensive examination of screenwriting form, content, craft, and traffic. You’ll learn how to adapt your content to the size, genre, and desired professional result of the script while also learning about the best on-ramps for aspiring writers.


Karla KL Brady

I would definitely recommend this class for first-time screenwriters and writers in general. I'm a novelist that would like to turn a couple of my stories into screen plays. I was mostly interested in the "dos and don'ts" which he supplied in a generous number. He gave a lot of great examples. I enjoyed the format with the students and he pretty much walks you through the entire process, including and especially the three-act structure which can be applicable to novel writing, too. He gave a lot of great examples. I would have liked a more extensive discussion on loglines and writing the action, but this certainly is enough to get you started. For the price, you can't beat it.


I came to this site by accident and then found some well known internet marketers here, who had already been sending me helpful emails and offers for some time, which I have used. What I like about the video contents is, that it is good old-fashioned skills and crafts development, rather than just formulaic, churn it out in big numbers advice. Whether screen writing, script writing, creative writing, news writing, etc. there is a structure and guideline for contents, order, grammar, etc., but the appeal is towards the development of one's creative side. I am normally involved in non-fiction writing, so this is a nice, creative side-kick, which no doubt will help my other work. As prolific author Isaac Asimow said, "If you want to learn to write, then you must write".


I would certainly recommend it to others, as there are some really great tips throughout the courses, across various aspects of film script writing.. That said, I would like to recommend however: - to have one version that is focused solely on film writing; eliminating the parts about teleplays and series, as those one or two did not relate to the rest of the course. - in its place, I would have loved to observe the coaching and critique on the writers film ideas, loglines, titles and such. I was very interested in knowing the do's and don'ts, what works and doesn't work, and what the proper approach is. Although he made mention of some of them in his overall content, relating them back to the writer's specific work would have been very beneficial.