The Big 3 Things Ever Strong Character Needs


Plot is all about engagement. It's the Pillar of story that (when done right) holds your viewer tightly in its arms from the first to the last frame of your story. 

Plot is the vehicle to carry your viewer through your story. Conflict is the fuel. Conflict causes us to focus, pay attention, and it creates a question. Together, we've pulled our viewer in, asked a question, and they want to stick with our story to find out the answer.

But, not just any conflict will do. It needs to be a conflict the audience cares about so that they are then invested in finding the answer to your question.

How do we get the audience to care? For that we need to turn to the People Pillar of story. People are all about connection. The more our audience cares about our character, the more affected they are when that character runs into conflict. But not just any character will do. 

After years of analyzing stories that really work and devouring scientific research, we've found the Big 3 Things that every character needs. Together, these Big 3 Things pull us in, make us fall in love, and sustain that connection. 

Ready for it? Here's your free tutorial all about the Big 3 Things. 



To put the Big 3 Things to use for you, and to develop characters that pull your audience in emotionally, we've got an extra downloadable resource for you. This worksheet is a list of questions that will help you find the Big 3 Things in anybody you're chatting with.

Now, there are three main ways that we can really put these questions to work for our stories:

  1. You are given a character, say a corporate film on the CEO or a wedding film on the bride and groom. You can use these questions to learn about your character's Big 3 Things and then work on maximizing them in your story. Everybody has these things, but we rarely ask the questions and tell a story that reveals them for our audience.

  2. You have a topic or a theme, you're given a purpose—say a product launch—and you need to find the characters for your story. These questions are hugely valuable in this case as well. Now you have a much more objective filter that will help you know when you've found that incredible character who can carry your story. 

  3. Your piece is historical in nature, it is literally a retelling. When you can't actually speak to your characters you can use these questions to focus your research and uncover what their Big 3 Things were for the potential characters.

Download a recap and the question list right here :)

If you're interested in continuing your journey with us, we've got lots more in store with Muse. In fact, we've got 27 videos, 4 quizzes, 87 pages of recaps and worksheets, plus a lively discussion forum to ask questions and connect with other Musers.

Registration for Muse is now closed (until January), so there are a few things you can do if you're interested. Head on over to, add your email at the top of the page, and you'll be the first to know when registration opens. 

If for some reason you REALLY need to get in sooner, email us at, tell us your story, and we'll see what we can do about getting you in. You'd be joining the class late but you'd also have 24 months access, so there is plenty of time to make up for it.