I’ve written on how an inanimate object can be a character that changes the course of a plot, but such objects can be considerably less intrusive. It might be missed as a character, but are still important.
In Joss Whedon’s, television series, Firefly, River Tam has been emotionally traumatized by government experiments. Most of the time, she walks barefoot. We never see an up close shot of anyone else’s feet, only River’s.
We see one of River’s foot slowly steps over a door frame, or down the stairs. Toes go first, then her heal, then her weight as the next foot follows. It doesn’t seem like much, but the camera stays as she goes through the full motion of placing her foot down.
Most times, if we see a camera shot of a foot or feet, it’s quick. The camera uses the foot as a starting point to pan upwards. It’s the person or how their dressed that’s important, not the foot.
For Joss Whedon, River’s foot is important, so the camera watches until the foot or feet are firmly place before the camera moves.
River’s feet give us more understanding as to who River is. Everyone else just walks, some with more purpose than others. But River is cautious, she hears, sees and understands more of what is going on than what the others are dealing with in the present moment. Her feet guide her on the paths she seeks to understand.
Her feet are a minor character, but they are apart of her personality, therefore they are important.
Is there something you character does that needs to be given the same amount of attention?