5 Character Tropes Nobody Told You About

Monday 26 November 2018

Today we are learning about 5 of the most unusual character tropes that you may not even know existed! 

These tropes will show us exactly HOW these examples can take our characters from good to great, AND you can read and download the scripts for Deadpool, Gravity, Se7en and Thor: Ragnarok.

So, if you want to know HOW to elevate your story AND bring something new to the narrative - then keep on reading:

(All screenplays included are sourced from Script Slug)

1) In Medias Res

Example: Deadpool

This trope is commonly referred to as one of the first ever created, diagnosed by Aristotle in his Poetics.

By establishing your character by throwing them INTO THE MIDDLE of the action, no set-up - immediately draws your audience in. It's a hook that doesn't let go to establish the build-up or consequences of what might happen.

When the audience are shown EXACTLY who this character is by their reactions to what action is taking place, it's SHOWING them why they need to pay attention to the story! 

Remember, film is VISUAL so get creative using this trope in your own projects. 
HOW can you establish your character, their motives and the world they inhabit QUICKLY?

Checkout the Deadpool screenplay HERE

2) No Antagonist

Example: Ryan Stone - Gravity

Story is found in conflict - our hero goes on a journey and along that journey, encounters obstacles. But what if our hero doesn't encounter the typical villain? Or no villain at all?

No Antagonist is exactly that - when our hero must overcome an intangible force ONLY. 

For example this could be a internal struggle such as addiction, or a scientific or natural threat like Dr Ryan Stone in Gravity faces. SPACE! The ultimate example of an opposing force with no structure or defined features.

This trope only applies when there is no VILLAIN - the only obstacle the hero must overcome is THIS INTANGIBLE FORCE and no other opposing obstacle. 

Think about what challenges you have set your hero/cast of characters. Is your story applicable here, and if so HOW can you turn it into a journey that feels fresh to the audience?

Checkout the Gravity Script HERE

3) I Reject Your Reality

Example: John Doe -Se7en

This trope is far more sinister than just being 'on another planet'. They live in a world of their own and create dangerous rules and expectations for others. 

This trope carries out harsh judgement for others as they stubbornly insist their 'reality' is the truth. 

John Doe is a clear example of this trope, carrying out a vicious set of attacks on those he deemed unworthy, or rebelling against his 'rules'. 

This trope is ruthless in their agenda of pursuing a 'better' reality, regardless of the danger they or others may be put in. 

To read the screenplay click HERE!

4) From Nobody To Nightmare

Example: Alice - CAM

This trope is all about taking a normal non-badass and subjecting them to endure various levels of transformation into NIGHTMARE. 

The trope does NOT need to be a villain, they are literally transformed from an 'insignificant nothing' into somebody their antagonist now fears - their ultimate nightmare.

Without giving away any spoilers, the Netflix film CAM is an awesome example of this trope: the story centres on Alice a cam girl whose whole world is turned upside down when she is locked out of her account and seemingly taken over by a lookalike. 

Alice's journey throughout the film is very much nightmare fuel, taking a seemingly mundane or normal existence and through a series of unfortunate events establishing her world  as her own nightmare creation.

5) The Worf Effect

Example: Hela - Thor Ragnarok

If you want to show the audience quickly, that your character isn't one to mess with - then consider The Worf Effect. 

Establish their status by throwing them into a confrontation with an opposing tough character, then have them WIN that fight. 

Your new character has just established they're the new power and hierarchy in your world, and much like Hela does by defeating Loki AND Odin - the audience realises the stakes have been upped significantly

Click to read the Thor: Ragnarok Script HERE!

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