The art in pulling off the ensemble film. It’s a tricking balance. In the vast majority of cinema you may be limited to one or two clearly defined protagonists with a cast of supporting artists. On occasions though, a writer wants to create an ensemble piece. It may have one particular character who dominates the screen a little more than the others, but you could have four or more characters who share screen near equally.
How do you do it right? Well firstly, whether you have four characters, six, ten, or whatever, the most important element is to have clearly definable characters. You could call them archetypes certainly, but it is important to ensure that ‘character one’ is different from the rest. If you craft one character who