Characters Needs vs Wants

When it comes to developing a character for your script, it's important to distinguish their needs vs their wants in the first act of the film. Without the needs vs wants, we won't have an idea why we should root for the character to succeed.


When a character wants something, it's their external goal. For example, in Toy Story, Woody wants to be Andy's favorite toy. That's what his goal throughout the film is! If a character doesn't have a want, they won't be able to have a goal to achieve in the film and it's going to be boring. When you're coming up with a characters want for your film, think about the goal they want to achieve and how they're going to go about getting what they want.


A character's need, however, is an internal goal. It's the lesson they have to learn on the inside. It's that sudden realization that something needs to change within themselves. Normally the characters need isn't fully stated in the first act, but there needs to be a hint of what the character needs somewhere in the first act and show that sudden realization of what they need near the end of the second act. For example, going back to Toy Story, in order for Woody to be Andy's favorite toy, he needs to be able to share Andy's love.

For another example, let's take a look at the movie "What About Bob?". Bob wants to be cured of his mental problems, but needs to be loved for who he is.

Hopefully you found this blog helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me and I'd be more than happy to help you out!

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