What are The Big 3 Things? Why do they matter?

Who is the Heart of my story? Who is the main character that I want the viewer to connect with? These are a few of the first questions that storytellers ask as we approach a new story.

But to answer these questions, we need an objective way to find and understand when we've found a strong character. We need a consistent way to differentiate a weak or forgettable character, from a remarkable character—a character who will make the audience fall in love and invite the audience to stick around on this character's journey.  

We call the traits that comprise a remarkable character, the Big 3 Things. The Big 3 Things are present in all of us to some extent. It's less about IF these qualities are present, and more about how strong they are as well as our own ability—as the storyteller—to draw these characteristics out of a person. 

The Big 3 Things are: 

1. Uniqueness: Uniqueness is what makes your character different from anyone else. 

  • Why Uniqueness matters: As human beings, our brains are wired to pay attention to novelty. This means that the more different, unique, or one-of-a-kind your character is, the more you can draw viewers into your story. 

2. Desire: Desire is what your character wants more than anything else. 

  • Why Desire matters: We can't expect the audience to want to watch, more than our character wants something. The more passionate and driven your character is to reach, obtain, or achieve something, the more the audience will want it for her. It's through a character's Desire that we create the emotional propensity for empathy. Desire makes our audience fall in love with our character.

3. Complexity: Complexity is WHY your character wants whatever it is that she wants. 

  • Why Complexity matters: Complexity gives your character depth or integrity. It sustains the audience's connection to your character. It gives your viewer a reason to believe in her, to root for her to reach her Desire. 

Altogether, the Big 3 Things work together to draw an audience in, make them fall in love, and sustain their connection with your Heart. And it's your Heart that will serve as a vehicle to lead viewers to your story's purpose in the end. 

To learn more about the Big Three Things and how it applies to building your story check out the video below:

Wistia video thumbnail - Skinny #3 (Adding Characters)

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