Script Analysis: “Hell or High Water” — Part 3: Character

Read the script for the acclaimed indie crime drama and discuss this week.

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this bi-weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Characters.

Characters are the players in our stories. They participate in scenes, move the plot forward through action and dialogue, influence each other, evolve and change. Each has their own distinct backstory, personality, world view, and voice. When a writer does their best, digging deep into their characters, tapping into their souls, the players in our stories magically lift up off the printed page and come to life in a reader's imagination.

Today we discuss the characters in the script for Hell or High Water. ou may download a copy of the script here. A list of the key characters:

Toby Hanson
Tanner Hanson
Marcus Hamilton
Alberto Parker
Debbie Hanson
Justin Hanson
Billy Rayburn

Written by Taylor Sheridan.

IMDb plot summary: A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.

Writing Exercise: Think about each character. What's their function? How do their roles interrelate?

Major kudos to Andrew Lightfoot for doing this week's scene-by-scene breakdown.

To download a PDF of the breakdown for Hell or High Water, go here.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read the Major Plot Points, go here.

Tomorrow: We reflect on themes.

Seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!

I hope to see you in the RESPONSE section about this week's script: Hell or High Water.


Script Analysis: "Hell or High Water" — Part 3: Character was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

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