Developing a three-dimension of a character

Khevna.P.Shah, INN/Bangalore

@Shahkhevna1, @Infodeaofficial

Have you ever wondered how the characters are developed? Or how their appearance syncs with their personality? Sometimes the character’s name, family history, interests, and everything is also developed even though the film doesn’t require it. But how are these characters born?

How to Create Three-Dimensional Characters From a One-Dimensional Character

Before I mention the elephant in the room, let me ask what is a character? Or what defines a character? Basically, a character is an aggregate of features and traits that forms the individual nature of some person or thing including moral or ethical quality, reputation, and qualities of honesty, courage, or integrity. There is a formula that can be used for the portrayal of the character.

                                      Dialogue + Physical Movement = Character

Developing character requires three main factors, that is psychological factor, physiological factor, and sociological factor. Since the movie is a visual experience, the sociology and psychology along with physiology are subtly portrayed visually by physical movements and the dialogue the character displays in any particular situation.

Characters are the essence of a movie. Good characters are three-dimensional based on the character’s physiology, psychology, and sociology. One of the three areas may often be predominant over the others and is affected more by the story, but all have to be developed to give depth to the character.


The main psychological points of a character are moral standards, personal premise, ambition, frustration, temperament, chief disappointment, IQ, attitude towards life, extroversion or introversion, and character qualities.

These psychology points give the audience a window to look into a part of the character’s lives and also tag along in the journey of their life from decision making to achieving success. It also gives a heads up on how the character is going to act at the beginning of the movie, during the rising action of conflicts, and in the climax of the film.

To understand this factor better, I would dissect the character of Ved from Tamasha. Throughout the movie we see two different personalities of Ved, one is carefree and jovial and the other is a corporal slave. He struggles to find his identity which is shown in the film. The film shows the conflict with himself and the struggle to find his identity.


The main physiological points of the character are height, posture, appearance, defects, and heredity. To make a character look compromising all these aspects are taken into consideration while developing the character.

For a deeper understanding, let’s take ‘Can you keep a secret, written by Sophie Kinsella, here the male protagonist Jack Harper is introduced by his physical description. In a novel, this helps the reader to formulate the appearance of the protagonist, just the way the writer intended to. It’s basically the stick for a blind man.

Adding to that, the character’s voice should also be a part of physiology because different parts of a person’s anatomy such as the vocal folds, throat, mouth cavity, nasal passage, tongue, and lips create sound.

The book later made into a movie with the same title gives a little deeper understanding of the character because of the audio effects. The voice helps the audience understand the reverence of the character a little more in-depth.


The main sociology points of a character are economic class, occupation, education, home life, religion, race, nationality, position in the community, political affiliation, amusement, and hobbies.

Depending on the film, sociology may not be as important as psychology or physiology’s portrayal of the character but if the character’s background is taken into consideration, then sociology may play a bigger part in the story.

But more significantly people love the ‘character’ because they identify them and all these factors make it identifiable and relatable. The audience wants to see the protagonists and the side characters develop and grow like people in real life.

In order for the movie to express these developments, the character has to show growth in moral and ethical qualities by having a well-developed social background making the character three-dimensional.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: