8. MultiDimensional

8. MultiDimensional
Multidimensional Characters Professional Clip Personal Clip Private Clip

Multidimensional Characters


“A favorite academic tenet argues that … fine characters are marked by one dominant trait. Macbeth's ambition is frequently cited. Overweening ambition, it's claimed, makes Macbeth great. This theory is dead wrong. If Macbeth were merely ambitious, there'd be no play. He'd simply defeat the English and rule Scotland. Macbeth is a brilliantly realized character because of the contradiction between his ambition on one hand and his guilt on the other. From this profound inner contradiction springs his passion, his complexity, his poetry. Dimension means contradiction: either within deep character (guilt-ridden ambition) or between characterization and deep character (a charming thief) . These contradictions must be consistent. It doesn't add dimension to portray a guy as nice throughout a film, then in one scene have him kick a cat. Consider Hamlet, the most complex character ever written. Hamlet isn't three-dimensional, but ten, twelve, virtually un countably dimensional. He seems spiritual until he's blasphemous. To Ophelia he's first loving and tender, then callous, even sadistic. He's courageous, then cowardly. At times he's cool and cautious, then impulsive and rash, as he stabs someone hiding behind a curtain without knowing who's there. Hamlet is ruthless and compassionate, proud and self-pitying, witty and sad, weary and dynamic, lucid and confused, sane and mad. His is an innocent worldliness, a worldly innocence, a living contradiction of almost any human qualities we could imagine. Dimensions fascinate; contradictions in nature or behavior rivet the audience's concentration. Therefore, the protagonist must be the most dimensional character in the cast to focus empathy on the star role. If not, the Center of Good decenters; the fictional universe flies apart; the audience loses balance” (378 McKee).


PROFESSIONAL, PERSONAL, PRIVATE LIFE: “Professional – Personal – Private Life: It is important to examine the relationships in the lives of your characters, as they have the potential of becoming a resource for greater depth of character, including subplots, secondary actions, and any possible intercutting you may want to do to build the relationship between characters and story. How do you make your characters real, believable, and multidimensional people during your story? From fade-in to fade-out? The best way to do this is to separate your characters' lives into three basic components-their professional life, their personal life, and their private life. These areas of your characters' lives can be dramatized over the course of the screenplay” (Field 51). 

Professional Clip

Personal Clip

Private Clip