The Wonderful New World of Screen-writing

I’m following an online course in screen-writing at the moment, to gain a deeper understanding in the world of film.

The latest exercise is to develop character outlines. So in the context of ‘Beginnings’ allow me to introduce Jake Jansen.

Helen Christmas writes about one of her main protagonists Jake Jansen. Jake, 23, is from Holland. 
He is a talented musician with his own band and plays at music festivals. 
He is hired for a special gig.

Jake on stage

Major actions:
He plays a concert at the birthday party of a prominent labour MP and witnesses two suspicious characters on the day of a car bomb. When interviewed by the police he truthfully relays what he saw but is abducted and stashed in a basement cell. After being rescued, he finds a house to hide.
He falls in love with Eleanor.
He escapes an ambush at Waterloo Station, heads for Toynbee Hall, accepts a refuge in Bethnal Green.
He knows he is on someones’s wanted list. Tries to figure out why. He dare not phone home for fear of his enemies tracing him.
He sits down in the town centre and does some busking but is fitted up with drugs.
He hides Eleanor under the floorboards to protect her and their unborn baby.
Jake accepts his lot in life, ready to face his destiny.

Wants and needs:
Jake wants to escape his captors and go home. By the time he and Eleanor escape, he decides that their only choice is to hide. He also wants to protect Eleanor; to marry her and spend the rest of his life with her. His major want AND need is to survive.

Basic psychology:
Cautious. Unwilling to take unnecessary risks. Jake is intelligent. He is not impulsive, just strives to do what is best for everyone but with an underlying craving for justice. He is a talented musician, a good singer, plays the guitar, is creative and writes songs; a dedicated friend with huge ambitious for his rock band. Jake is loving, courageous and kind.

Superficial affect:
He seems to care as much for others as he does for himself. Eleanor senses a gentle nature and a pure heart. Why anyone would want to kill him is a mystery. He comes across as polite and respectable.

Jake's beautiful green eyes

One of Jake’s features is his mysterious green eyes

Physical characteristics:
Slender build, a chiselled face, he possesses a certain beauty; his complexion pale, his green eyes sharp and alert. There is something slightly hippie-like about the way he dresses; dark, auburn hair, worn long in a ponytail.

To his enemies he has a look of vulnerability, something which appeals to their sense of power. He looks like an easy target.

COURSE INSTRUCTIONS: This is just an outline, so stick to that format and make lists; avoid long prose descriptions.
Something to share on the padlet board.
This has been an amazing insight into screenwriting and I am really enjoying the  course.

About Helen J. Christmas

I am an English author and have written a series of novels, titled 'Same Face Different Place. Beginnings is a gangland thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. The second Book 'Visions' is a psychological thriller, set in Kent; a mystery that ensnares the owners of an historic, English Country House. Book 3 Pleasures contains suspense, thrills and YA romance, set in a backdrop of organised crime and at the advent of the British rave culture. There are 2 final books in the series, Retribution (Phase One) and Retribution (End Game) where the saga reaches its dramatic conclusion.
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