From their perspectives:
[The Unnamed Protagonist]: Attends a film camp for inner city youth. Wants to run off and live in Hollywood. Lives with a single parent who has a drug problem. Sneaks off one night with friends and to attend a concert one night. Here she runs into the camp counsellors again. She ends up hanging out with them, who try to console her after being ditched by the friends that drove up there. She tells them a story idea for a film that night — a few weeks later they show up at her apartment unannounced but she runs off with them. While staying at their small studio, there is a break-in one night. One of the film crew pissed off some people. They steal all of the crew’s film equipment. Because she witnessed this crime, they take her hostage. The criminals do not know how to operate the equipment, but she does — having learned it at summer camp. They spare her life, as long as she can direct good movies for them.
Căde: Sent to the finest boarding schools in England for all his youth. He seeks validation from others, especially his father, who does not publicly acknowledge him. He approaches his father with the idea of attending film school in Romania. His father views it as one more chance to send his son away, so he agrees to fund attending a film school — in Los Angeles. Căde complies. Once he arrives, he finds a warm welcome that quickly evaporates once his lack of talent becomes apparent. In actuality, Căde’s father is using the film school arrangement as a cover under which he will expand his criminal enterprise: if Căde gets caught, it won’t go back to Romania, nor will Căde. A great outcome either way.
Smith: He was successful but longs to return to those days. Tries to position himself as a mentor, but is really just the financial backer for a group of struggling artists. Feels he lives his life merely at the mercy of inspiration, so when the protagonist comes along he drops everything in order to sell her story to a major studio and take it into production. This drive eventually alienates everyone around him. By the middle of the story he has nothing:
the equipment stolen
the friends gone
sells a teenager’s story, and he can’t produce the story or the teenager
Pavel: A good writer, but is not a story-teller. Fixes scripts freelance. On the side sells screenplays to film students. He obtains one of these stories from the protagonist — and sells it to Căde. He is also taken hostage by Căde’s goons. Căde executes Pavel ostensibly for humiliating him in class and for being uncooperative, as well as to show how hard he really is.
Agatha: The moral backbone and real leader of the film crew. A former student of Professor V’s, who graduated top of her class. Struggles to find work due to her desire to create what she wants rather than what others will pay for. When she meets the protagonist, these two things merge for the very first time. While Smith attempts to cash in on the protagonist’s disappearance, Agatha splits off with some of the other members of the film crew, and they attempt to locate the protagonist. Agatha divorces Smith — both accusing each other of being obsessed with the protagonist. Represents the conflict of the artist with the brass-tacks world of business.
Professor V: Instigates a great deal of the conflict by encouraging Căde. At one point, Agatha reaches out to him, but he is too conflicted at this point to give the right advice.