For audience members to care about the movie being presented to them there must be an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION between them and the protagonist.
There are several techniques for writing a protagonist that will make the audience form that connection.
One such is to have the protagonist experience irritating or frustrating events that audience members can easily relate to.
Even if the protagonist is a diabolical serial killer, by the time you’ve finished giving him a parking ticket, made him lose his cell phone, got him stuck in the rain, and killed off his prized rose bushes, the audience will begin to emotionally connect with him because you’ve made him human, just like us, even if later he does enjoy the occasional torture session with his after dinner cheese and wine.
And yet another technique is to have the character experience undeserved misfortune, brutality, or loss.
That underserved spanking when we were a kid.
The loss of a beloved pet.
Some pickpocket’s stolen our wallet while on vacation.
Because at some time in our lives we’ve all experienced some undeserved adversities, including the proverbial Murphy’s Law at work, we can immediately relate to that protagonist’s plight on an emotional level.
Then there’s the “noble soul” approach… that character that does the right thing despite the personal risk.
A current real life event is the best example of this – the five men who overpowered a gun and knife toting terrorist on a French train just last week.
As the gunman’s pulling the trigger they all dove in to bring him down, despite the wounds sustained and the potential for further personal danger.
Have your movie’s protagonist do something like that and the emotional connection is immediate…as we all admire a hero and secretly think we’d be as courageous if we were in that situation.
Why is this audience to protagonist emotional connection important?
Because… the story is all about the protagonist and his struggle to get somewhere, or get something, or solve a problem, or get someone.
So, if the audience isn’t made to emotionally connect with the protagonist they won’t care whether or not he succeeds or fails in his/her quest hence won’t care about the movie either.