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I need to make my lead female a stronger character?

 
 
Muarck
 
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 03:20 pm
I'm a screenwriter, and I to make my female lead stronger. She's about 32 - 38 years old. She's in the middle of a divorce. And this is an indie film so production cannot afford to film her in a business setting. She can't be sexually aggressive. Although possessing a sexual air and/or sexuality in her dialog is fine (although she can't be flirty she's not a teen or a ditz.)
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 3,193 • Replies: 22

 
tsarstepan
 
  3  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 03:24 pm
@Muarck,
How about a collegiate/academic setting. Make her a college professor.
Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 03:45 pm
@tsarstepan,
I actually really like that idea. I don't think it's enough to make a character strong but it helps. Thanks a lot! More ideas though.
Anybody have ideas of movies in which there was a lead they thought was particularly strong?
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:29 pm
@Muarck,
Put her in a sports setting. Tennis, basketball, volleyball, softball are sports you could reasonably expect adults to play and where you can show a socially acceptable aggressive attitude. If you want to play up the attractive but not slutty angle, go with tennis (doubles is best), show her being aggressive at the net or hitting some big, high risk shots that require significant confidence and then coming off in an attractive tennis outfit and accepting compliments from the guys on her play. If you went the volleyball route, you could do the same; a few spikes, a few dives, shorts and a tank top, high five with the guys in the co-ed league.
sullyfish6
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:40 pm
Put her into any situation where she has to multi-task and direct many people - including kids. She could run an orphanage or a construction company.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:44 pm
@Muarck,
Muarck wrote:

I'm a screenwriter, and I to make my female lead stronger. She's about 32 - 38 years old. She's in the middle of a divorce. And this is an indie film so production cannot afford to film her in a business setting. She can't be sexually aggressive. Although possessing a sexual air and/or sexuality in her dialog is fine (although she can't be flirty she's not a teen or a ditz.)

How about instead she was a very brilliant college student who had left her law degree (or some other advanced degree) unfinished to move and marry the husband she is now in the divorce with. She is working very blue collar type jobs, but is doing so because she is scared to finish what she started. A good strong character I feel has to have some very distinct flaw or fear otherwise the characteristics that make them strong seem unrealistic. giving her some sort of obvious insecurity allows you to write her dialog with a much more potent wit and intelligence. If you are on a low budget, an internal struggle may be easier to work with also. If you want the character to come off as strong, be careful to not define her by another character. I.e. - Don't apply to much romance or desire on her behalf.

Just a thought. I'll brainstorm and think about other stuff.

T
K
O
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:48 pm
@engineer,
The more I think about the tennis angle, you could make her a tennis pro at a club who just missed the big time or who quit for some reason and regrets it.
0 Replies
 
Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:52 pm
@Muarck,
One thing I should have noted. The film will be more of a two person in a cottage film than what you are used to seeing in theaters where a character can just hop up and drive through the open city go shopping in a grocery store get their nails done at a beauty parlor. I need to create a strong character with the least possible additional sets and characters.

For example another technique I used for making a character strong was: one of the characters is in the middle of breaking a drinking problem. So yes, though that is a flaw it is the seeing of the struggle that makes the character look strong. And again it's small and simple I don't need another set or character to show it. That said, I might need another set or character to show this, but I would like to keep it as small as possible. I have several locations now and my budget is getting stretched.
sullyfish6
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:54 pm
female loner with a drinking problem?

How about a private detective?

Oh, that's been done before . . .

engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:55 pm
@Muarck,
OK, so I really like my tennis idea and my mind is running with it. For sets, you could probably use a local club on a Sunday morning when no one is playing. I bet you could use the whole place for free. Use the club house for after tennis beers and discussions.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 04:57 pm
@sullyfish6,
Great idea sullyfish! A female detective! I'd be game!
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 05:00 pm
How about instead of alcohol, she is hiding her addiction to prescription meds after some very emotionally scarring accident?

Perhaps a car wreck.

T
K
O
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 05:01 pm
@Diest TKO,
A female Doctor House?!
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 05:20 pm
@tsarstepan,
Oh damn you're right. I also just remembered the mother from Requiem.

scrap it.

processing...

How about her divorce is coming from a definitely weak character. Her husband is leaving her because she has cancer and he is a weak and shallow person. She survives the cancer treatments and the disease acts as a catalyst for her adventure. She begins shedding off all the other weak people in her life post illness. It becomes a witty comedy about telling people off. your audience will be able to identify with the lead character because it becomes a way for them to imagine and fantasize about telling off all the people who have done them wrong.

Character flaw: A growing sense of cynicism. Her contempt say begin to overflow on to people who don't deserve it. She must learn to trust, forgive and move on.

T
K
O
Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 05:20 pm
@engineer,
Yeah, the tennis is a good idea. It's small/doable on an indie budget. I might go with something like that. The only issue is in my last film a sports scene took up way more effort than it was finally worth. (choreography, digital corrections, rentals, etc. )
0 Replies
 
Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 05:28 pm
@Diest TKO,
Actually that does play somewhat well into the story.

See I actually have the entire outline of the story written. Every scene. So I'm just trying to add a bit. So I can't change the whole story, but yes definitely it's a nice point contrasting her with her husband. And talking about her losing her friends. Honestly, though I was looking for something that was able to be slipped into a story. Something like: hum what an example of a character made stronger by just a few scenes. Well, this isn't being made stronger by a few scenes. But Gerard Butler in the Ugly Truth has this big player/lady's man character, but you never even see him hooking up with any chicks. It's just a few comments and stuff.
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 05:39 pm
@Muarck,
You know. Making her unlikeable could be very likeable.

T
K
Neutral
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  0  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 06:18 pm
Make her a woman governer with a shady past. "Like Palin" Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 08:54 pm
@Muarck,
To show her strength how about showing her coming on the scene of a gentleman having a heart attack with a few people just standing around and having her take charge ordering someone to call 911 as she give him CPR?

In any case, showing her in some such manner acting correctly and directly in a life and death situation.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 11:29 pm
@Muarck,
Quote:
I'm a screenwriter, and I to make my female lead stronger. She's about 32 - 38 years old. She's in the middle of a divorce. And this is an indie film so production cannot afford to film her in a business setting. She can't be sexually aggressive. Although possessing a sexual air and/or sexuality in her dialog is fine (although she can't be flirty she's not a teen or a ditz.)



Just thinking about a few nitty gritty details, which would give her character "flesh".:
I think it's important, in the course of the action, that we discover that she possesses a few flaws. That she's not "perfect feminist role model material", in other words. Wink Perhaps she's made a few personal or business compromises along the way, which she possibly now regrets? Or perhaps those compromises were considered "necessary" (at the time) to achieve her success? Are there repercussions now? Does she have children? (whether we actually see them in the film or not)? How have they been affected by her divorce, and/or her career commitments? Are they a point of contention between her & her estranged husband? Do her children like & respect her? Are they giving her grief (fairly or unfairly) as she tries to get her life on track? And what caused the divorce to occur? Does she have regrets or is this something she's been wanting for a long time & now is the moment?
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