You need conflict in a good screenplay. Conflict arises when there are obstacles that stand in the way of our protagonist, whether those obstacles lie within because of some character flaw, or in the people and situations around them.

Characters Development Characters In ConflictThe greatest conflict occurs when inner obstacles make us hesitant, afraid even, to confront external obstacles in the environment around us. This is the key to making memorable protagonists: people who have weaknesses.

Perfect people are boring. Worse, they cannot grow. Without kryptonite and his inability to see through lead, Superman would not be worth watching or reading about in comic books. What’s the point of seeing a superhero that you know will always win, after all? Where’s the excitement in that?

Upping the ante further, a great script has a plot in which the protagonist alone is the one who can solve the problem. Whether that problem is one of reconciling friends or of saving the world, it is the protagonist alone who can find the solution. To give the story a good twist, the protagonist should also be one who seems the least able to do so.

In Daylight, Sylvester Stallone’s character, Kit Latura, plays a disgraced Emergency Medical Services Chief who’s forced to become a taxi driver in order to make ends meet.

Lacking confidence in his abilities due to his fall from grace, he is nevertheless the one who has to save a group of people who’ve become trapped in the Holland Tunnel beneath the Hudson River.

Latura’s success lay not just in his ability to save most of the victims (including himself) from the tunnel, but also in his success in confronting and overcoming his own inner doubts and fears. Without this inner flaw in him, the protagonist would have just been another two-dimensional hero who experiences neither growth nor development. He would have become just another Superman who wins the day without effort or struggle, and who therefore emerges at the end of the story no different than when it first began.

And so the lead character must not only have an inner flaw, but they must also be the one who takes charge, even if it is against their will. Althought their struggle is mostly external, there must also be an internal struggle; and the resolution of one is vital to the resolution of the other.