Night of the Naked Dead!

Monday, April 4, 2016

How can I craft a character with Psychological Disorders?

Are you writing a screenplay that explores a character suffering from a psychological disorder/mental disorder?  You may want to know how to portray a character with a mental disorder accurately. Here is your chance to depict this character honestly to make your screenplay authentic.

Psychological disorders have been portrayed in many Hollywood movies. As Good As It Gets, Silver Lining's Playbook, Alice, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Secret Window, Mystic River, and Aviator are a few notable mainstream films that touched upon psychological disorders plaguing human beings.

If your character is living with an untreated mental disorder, show the signs and symptoms of this psychological condition in your script. How would a depressed person act? What would a bipolar person do without proper treatment? If a person has social anxiety, what will they do to avoid people in social places? Ask these questions to better understand the characters within your screenplay.

People suffering from psychological disorders are known to make excuses to avoid confronting their mental condition. Take for instance; people with social anxiety may ask another person to do things for them since they fear being in public places. On multiple occasions, social anxiety can/will block these people from living a normal life. This mental disorder inhibits these people to the point in which they use negativity and frustration as a way to cope with their debilitating condition. Given this information, draw connections between social anxiety and your character.

Have a character in your screenplay that has bipolar disorder? Incorporate signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder into this script, including action and/or lack of action to shed light on this mental disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental condition associated with moments of depression and normality. People dealing with bipolar disorders are greeted with roller coaster emotions. One moment, these people are on a high note and the next they find their life is not worth living. Outsiders may view these people as sporadic because their emotions can change at the drop of a hat.

Ready to become that screenwriter with authentic material? Learn about character problems/conflict. Understand this character; live with them in your home. Mental disorders are challenging to their host, especially to the people surrounding them. It is extremely important to monitor the progress of people living with mental disorders.

As a screenwriter, you have a prime opportunity to inject realism into your screenplay. This is your shot to increase awareness on mental conditions. Become that screenwriter who infuses real life into screenplays, conveying actions and emotions involved with psychological disorders.

Books on mental disorders and research material highlight this subject matter. Read a copy of the DSM to research and study appropriate mental illnesses in their entirety. Understand the signs and symptoms of mental disorders so that you can show instead of tell the audience about the struggles people experience while coping with the effects of particular psychological conditions.

View the DSM manual at Barnes & Noble or at your local library. You can also purchase the 5th edition of the DSM below. Happy screenwriting!

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