Making list of film characters and their relationships

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hi Everyone,

I’m working on a TV series, and looking for some online database solution for a really easy(-looking) task: I have to follow the realationships between the characters of the TV show during the script writing (friends/enemies/…etc - it can also be a simple list). So it means I make a list with the names of the characters I guess, and then I need to duplicate this list and somehow make a third list that contains the connections between them (it’s like a two dimensional graph).

And then the second question: if the database is finished, how can I easily make the entries (we are talking about hundreds of character names). For example, I have two names in the list: “Joe” and “Bob”. I want to change their relationship into “friends”. I guess I will need some kind of combined searching form that looks for the two names and make me able the change the third data between them.

Do you think I can do this in Airtable? Can you help me with this?



4 Replies 4

Hey there! I think Airtable would be perfect for this.

When starting out, I found Airtable Universe to be an endless source of inspiration. Why not take a look at this base here, and tailor it to your needs?

Hope that helps!

Thanks Saastronomical,

wow, it looks an amazingly useful tool (Universe)! Unfortunately I couldn’t find a good solution for my problem after browsing a few hours between the templates, they mostly use data entry forms and simple reports as I see, not many combines data like I need (self-linking list, recording relations between cell datas…). Or maybe I’m looking at the wrong way. :slightly_smiling_face:

But thanks anyway, the Airtable Universe will be really inspiring later.


Hi @Miklos_Borsos,

You can use this example to achieve what you want in one table.

After doing so, you can use the Org Chart Block to show you a hierarchy of the relationships.


18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

This thread really highlights the need for Airtable to automatically create “back links” (or “reverse links”) when you are creating a self-linking linked record field (i.e. a field relationship that links a table back to itself).

All other linked record fields in Airtable automatically create these “back links” or “reverse links”, but they don’t get created when doing a self-relationship within a single table.

This is especially crucial for using the Org chart block, which REQUIRES that you create a self-linking relationship within a table. The Org chart block doesn’t even support creating links between separate tables!

You’ll notice in the Org chart demonstration video that there are 2 self-linked fields: “Direct Reports” and “Direct Supervisors”. All of that data had to be manually inputted & manually verified by the user, because there is no automatic way to have those 2 fields automatically communicate with each other.

If you’re dealing with a very small number of records, it might be relatively easy & relatively trivial to manually input both sides of the links for every record. But once you start dealing with hundreds or thousands of records, it becomes a real chore to start manually managing all of these links.

Same problem if you’re trying to BREAK a self-relationship between 2 people. If you delete the relationship on one side, the relationship on the other side should AUTOMATICALLY break. But the way it is now, you actually have to remember to manually break both sides of the relationship.

Unfortunately, we only have 2 options for creating backlinks in Airtable:

(1) Write a custom JavaScript to handle this for us. Two scripts that do this are available here and here.


(2) For a no-code way of doing this that doesn’t require writing any programming code at all, we can use Make’s advanced Airtable automations, which is a no-code automation tool for Airtable.

But all of this should really be natively built into Airtable. Please be sure to send your feature requests on this topic to 

I was a FileMaker developer for over 30 years before becoming an Airtable consultant, and FileMaker is an advanced database app that natively solves this problem because backlinks are automatically built into the product.

FileMaker solves all the other Airtable limitations as well, because FileMaker is a full-blown programming language with no limits.

If anybody needs an Airtable consultant or a FileMaker developer, feel free to reach out to me through my website: