10 screenwriting lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Screen Capture from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Lesson 2: Selfishness is Everything

Always create self-serving, selfish characters. Altruistic characters are not interesting. When two or more characters want the same thing, it creates conflict. Conflict is what makes stories interesting. The Guardians of the Galaxy are probably the most selfish protagonists (aside from Tony Stark / Iron Man) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because of this, their dynamic is also a lot more interesting.

Even the most altruistic of characters are selfish. Take Steve Rogers / Captain America for instance. He may be a boy scout, but he has definitely done some selfish things. For example, in Captain America: Civil War, his protection of Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier, caused a rift between the Avengers.

Calvisi states the basic concept of dramatic writing is to “know what your character wants.” If the audience knows that the characters have selfish needs, they’ll accept them more. It makes the characters more three-dimensional and realistic.