There is an undeniable advantage to your written work when you’ve had the opportunity to put yourself in a character’s shoes. Your dialogue and the believability of characters improve. Now this doesn’t immediately make you a great screenwriter because you are still going to have to figure out the craft, but it gives you a head start. Most writers, especially beginning writers, don’t start with creating an outline but let characters ramble on for their first draft. In an interview with Creative Screenwriting, Quentin Tarantino says,
“The way I write is really like putting one foot in front of the other. I really let the characters do most of the work. They start talking and they just lead the way.”
Tarantino took acting classes for a time, and so did a few others who are well known: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Emma Thompson, Sylvester Stallone, Aaron Sorkin, Billy Bob Thornton. When you fall in love with creating characters, it doesn’t matter if it’s on a page or on a stage. But to understand how to bring them to life you is a whole other ball game. If you’ve been told your characters aren’t believable enough you, should at least consider taking an acting class. I’ve never heard of a writer who gave it a try and came out of it complaining or thinking it was a waste of time. You will get something out of it.
“But I’m shy?” “But I can’t __(fill in the blank)__.” “What if I make a fool of myself?” Get over it! There are bigger hurdles you will face in Hollywood. Start doing the little scary things so you can be ready for the big scary things. Take an acting class!
Another common question is how to write from the perspective of the opposite sex since men and women voice their opinions differently. Commit time to observing the other sex and do your research. If you are having a hard time creating dialogue, sometimes going to a cold reading workshop helps.