How room works
Strip your protagonist by exposing the audience to the protagonist's vulnerabilities (flaws etc). Maybe not everything but enough to get the audience emotionally invested. The audience roots for what they connect with and they only connect with what they understand. We all connect with vulnerabilities because we all have them (in different ways and shades).
An example that comes to mind is Dr. Amelia Shephard in Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy. The audience is exposed to her substance abuse, childhood and adult trauma (witness to her father's murder, fiance overdosing in front of her and giving birth to a unicorn baby) before most of the other characters. When she eventually goes on a bender instead of feeling disgust, I felt empathy and wanted her to make it through some way, some how.
Another way is to create 1 or 2 critical characters from whose perspective the audience can see a different side to the protagonist. Example is Sherlock Holmes in Elementary (American version of Sherlock). Irene Adler is Sherlock's lover but Irene Adler unknown to Sherlock is really Jamie Moriarty (Sherlock's Arch-nemesis. Sidebar i really love love love this twist). Now recall, Sherlock is obnoxiously intelligent and he rubs all characters the wrong way (Similar to Dr. House in the "House" tv series and Sherlock in the "Sherlock" tv series) . From the audience's perspective Irene/Jamie is supposed to be the villain we hate but till the end of the show we are all rooting for their love story and still rooting for Sherlock to catch her. Also Sherlock's sober companion and partner Joan Watson. The evolution of their partnership from her (Joan) perspective exposes a side of the Protagonist that helps the audience and other characters on the show understand, connect and root for him.
@Abeke This is brilliant advice. And love that you came through with the examples. Yasss, thank you so much and you are so right. Perspective is so key. It's so easy to be one dimensional when you're thinking of the protagonist's goal - instead of taking into account they are an actual human being with flaws. Thanks!
Wow, i love your perspective on this subject matter and also the film references you made. I’m really learning a-lot here
I agree with Emy about making the character realistic. There's something about seeing something about in a character in someone you know in real life. Or seeing the character doing something you've heard of. Then, that character shouldn't be a 'confused' person. Or at least not for long. I think it really puts me off when a character is probably confused/ indecisive throughout a narrative. A little sense of humour won't be bad either.
By making them realistic. The audience must feel what the character feels.
I will come back to see the comments so I can learn from it ☺️
“To choose to write is to reject silence”