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In every fictional story, there are three types of characters:

1) The main characters 2) The people who interact with the main characters, but are not main characters themselves - for example, the front desk guy in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. 3) The extras.

What I'd like to know is if there's a word or a phrase to succinctly describe a character of type 2.

Minor character?

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    Supporting character?
    – deadrat
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 5:58

3 Answers 3

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Such characters called Supporting Characters:

From Wikipedia:

A supporting character is a character in a narrative that is not focused on by the primary storyline. Sometimes supporting characters may develop a complex back-story of their own, but this is usually in relation to the main character, rather than entirely independently. In television, supporting characters may appear in more than half of the episodes per season.

Also, see this for more info and definitions of different types of characters can be find here.

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I think you're talking about people who play more minor roles than what I, at least, think of as supporting characters. So I would call them minor characters. I think of supporting characters and main characters as together making up the ensemble; the minor characters only have a few lines -- although they might appear in several scenes. Frequently, we don't know the name of a minor character. The supporting character could get an Oscar but a minor character can't.

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Supporting actor:

  • an actor who performs a role in a play or film below that of a lead role, and above that of a bit parts. In recognition of important nature of this work, the theater and film industries give separate awards to the best supporting actors and actresses.

Wikipedia

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