To create an outstanding profile of a person – you must starts on the outside and works your way to the insides of the person. Profiling a person is a deliberate act of extracting information about a person directly or indirectly based on known traits or tendencies.
Whether you are profiling a person for recruitment, cover magazine, film or television or for a visual work as a comic book, two elements are required; Profile’s Appearance and Personality
The appearance of a person is important but remember as a writer you are describing the appearance and much will be left to the readers’ imagination. Of course, if you are writing for film or television or for a visual work as a comic book, then the appearance becomes more important. To start out with the profile’s appearance, write down some of the basic facts:
- Is your profile person male, female, transgender?
- Where was your profile person born?
- How old are they?
- What is their current job?
- What are their interests outside their job?
- Who do they love? And who did they used to love?
- Who are their enemies and friends?
Critical Elements to consider when you want to profile a person:
You should decide the physical attributes of your profile person. At the least you should consider:
- Height – are they tall, short, average?
- Weight – are they overweight, underweight, average?
- Skin tone and freckles, hair and eye colour
- Distinguishing features – birthmarks, scars, tattoos
- Hair colour – brunette, blonde?
- Hair length – short, long, shoulder-length?
Accessories and Clothing:
Think about the things your character wears, carries, and uses and whether any should be distinctive. Think of Master Yoda’s Gimer stick, James Bond’s Walther PPK, or Carrie’s heels in Sex in the City! These are all iconic accessories. People in real life tend to favour certain items and these items are part of how we recognize them and think of them.
The glasses they wear, the type of watch they use, the jewellery they wear. Add accessories to shape your profile person. Are they fascinated with different sorts of glasses? Funny t-shirts? prada’s shoes? Use a pocket watch instead of a wristwatch? Wear a locket around his/her neck?
The background of the profiled person is essential, even if it is not actually detailed. As well as making the profile more interesting and adding depth to the story, you can use the background to ensure the profile person’s behaviour remains consistent.
Ask about the profiled person’s heritage. Is he/she Asian, German, African American/Black? A writer might try to bring out the profile person’s heritage in the profile piece. Use the way they pronounce things, and how they feel about things to demonstrate their background, perhaps.
Your profile person’s heritage (and current nationality) could affect other aspects of the profiling or questions you might want to ask. But equally, you should strive to avoid the stereotypes – Germans aren’t all mean, Italians aren’t all about love and pasta. Sometimes discovering the opposite of the stereotypical view will surprise and interest your reader.
Motivation and roundness:
You need to understand why your profile person behaves the way they do. Ask them about motivations that you can’t understand – otherwise, you won’t be able to write effectively about them. Very few real people are static or completely stable. Your profile person might have things that drive them and things that repel them – but there will probably be more than one.
Most people have a mixture of a few personalities. It is your job as the profile writer to ask questions that lead to these findings. For example. A caring mother might be a Type-A scrapbooker and a wine lover. The busy doctor might compete in triathlons and have three pit bulls who she/he puts into competitions.
The custodian may be a collector of vintage motorcycles, obsess over a particular hockey team, and spoil his/her granddaughters. As stated earlier, it is your job as the profile writer to ask questions that lead to these findings. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What adjectives would your friends use to describe you?
- What hobbies do you have?
- What would your “best day” consist of?
- What is on your Bucket List?
- Describe yourself in one sentence.
- What’s something weird in your fridge right now?
- What three items would you want on a deserted island?