Looking to write your film script or story and want to create good characters? If you’re a beginner filmmaker or storyteller, this is where character archetypes come in. When deciding how to shape your character, you can use any of these character archetypes to get you started. Remember, your character can have 3-4 or more archetypes, but there’s usually one dominant one.
Think Samwise Gamgee and you’ll have the epitome of what a caregiver archetype is like. Like Sam, this type wants to see everything go well. They are supportive and generous, often standing beside the protagonist at all times. They make sure the needs of others are met before theirs. The only downside to this character is they are vulnerable and can be manipulated or captured easily by the bad guys.
Someone who takes action, this archetype is motivated and confident. They create a story momentum because they forcefully take action, moving along the narrative. Leaders are usually surrounded by other archetypes because they naturally draw them to him or her. The downside to this character is they can be bossy or domineering, causing a lot of natural conflicts.
3. The Observer
Loyal and observant, this character archetype is often the one that pays attention to even the little things. They’re also highly intuitive and inwardly reflective of what’s happening. Even if they are part of the action, they feel as if they’re on the outside looking in. They’re the ones who need the direction of a leader or a rebel to help inspire them into action.
4. The Charmer
This archetype is persuasive, confident and even a little sly and provocative. They’re usually seen as mysterious and people gravitate towards them. Most of the time, the observer type gets drawn to them. Most charmers get along with most people but often focus on looking out for themselves and are unconcerned with others.
5. The Unpredictable
This character often does things impromptu. It’s hard to predict their next move and will leave those around them guessing. They’re creative, funny and often too honest. At the same time, their sarcasm level is high and they can be extremely impulsive.
6. The Thrill-Seeking Rebel
This character has plenty of energy and willing to try out anything new. They are capable but hyper-individualistic – knowing who they are, what they want to do and how to do it. They are street-smart and brave but can have a short temper and cynical about their life. A rebel character isn’t just about breaking the laws outrightly, they’re usually just more inclined to try unusual methods or ditch the typical approach towards their goal. Instead of being thorough, they leave things up to chance and just go for it.
7. The Fighter or Warrior
These characters are strong-willed and would not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. They have the honor and live by that honor. The only downside to this character is despite being honorable, they can be aggressive and stubborn. Sometimes they can be obsessive in following what they think is right, often forcing others to submit to their will.
8. The Teacher/Genius Professor
This archetype is usually someone who is good at solving problems. They can be logical and candid, with little social skills or sometimes just far too rigid. They’re known for taking their work seriously and for knowing a lot of things. This even gets them admiration even if they may not realize it.
There you have it! These are some of the most common character archetypes out there. As an exercise, try watching your favorite film or TV show and see if you can identify which character archetype is which.
Knowing which character archetype to use in your story is important. Each character and their personalities create a dynamic storyline and will make your video or film more interesting in the end.