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05/19/2001 - Character Arcs
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CHARACTER ARCS

All good screenplays must have at least one of their major characters undergo a transformational arc. The arc is the change a character undergoes from the beginning of the script to the end. Characters should learn from their mistakes and overcome their weaknesses between Acts One and Three by going through the adventure you put them through. Characters who remain essentially the same from beginning to end are fatally flawed. They have learned nothing from their experience and have shown no growth. A great example of a character arc is the Tom Cruise character in the movie "Rain Man." Cruise starts out a ruthless wheeler dealer who kidnaps his autistic brother becuause he feels cheated about not receiving any money from his estranged father's will. After a cross country journey with his brother, he comes to learn the imporatnce of family and turns down the money.

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