When contrast is at its greatest, the possibility for humor and conflict is high. ― Cornering the characters‖ is taking two characters and placing them in opposite corners. A classic example is The Odd Couple where main characters and roommates Oscar and Felix are the complete opposite of one another in mannerisms and formality.

From Opposing Ends

From Opposing Ends

Oscar is an absolute slob, Felix is a neat freak, and the result is many laughs as the two characters live together and continually bicker and argue. If both had been slobs or both were tidy, it wouldn‘t have been nearly as interesting.

In the Patty Duke Show, the same cornering effect was used, as the plot took identical cousins and gave one many experiences throughout the world while having the other spend their whole life in Brooklyn Heights.. Placing two characters at opposing corners creates serious conflict and interest.

Create a list of characteristics for each of your characters, and then place them in odds with the opposing character they will be interacting with the most. This is an excellent way to explore the conflict that can arise between characters.

A Fish Out Of Water

Creating a character that is at odds with the situation they are within is another example of conflict. In the original script to the HBO World Premiere Movie Crash Drive, James Allen Carter was a retired Navy Engineer, not at all the hero type; more of a book worm.

When a U.S. 688 Class nuclear submarine was hijacked by a group of terrorists, this unlikely character was thrust into the position of hero. If he had been the typical hard-core tough guy, many of the films entertaining elements wouldn‘t have worked. It would have been expected. With a book worm, however, it was unpredictable.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

When a regular, even nerdy looking character ends up being something completely different, there is a contrast in how the character looks and what is truly lurking in their skills. Clark Kent, being downright geeky in look and mannerisms, is a classic example. It makes the idea of him really being Superman impossible to those who know him.

There is inescapable humor in understand that his weak persona is all an act.

The same can be said of Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy‘s Remo Williams, a very ordinary looking guy who can kick butt effortlessly. One would expect him to be huge and muscled, not looking like the guy next door. This contrast is another interesting and enjoyable situation to absorb audience‘s attention.