An excerpt from my script review for A Few Good Men which will be available 02/05/18:

3.) Quality of Characters

Establish (and then utilize) smart characters.


Young and inexperienced doesn’t equal stupid, a fact that Kaffee uses to his advantage in a lot of points in this story.

Employing smart characters in your story is fantastic, but the trick is not to make the audience feel dumb while doing so.

Mr. Sorkin does this wonderfully, because there are constant hints that Kaffee sees something more to a situation than what is going on. We don’t get it right away, but we know that he knows, and we appreciate that.

Asking Jessup for the transfer order.

One of the examples is when Jo references that Kaffee could have easily asked a bureaucrat for Santiago’s transfer order, but he simply asks Jessup for it because he wants to see how Jessup reacts.

And react he does, exploding with quite the speech about Kaffee and Sam’s dress whites!

(A trait Kaffee will use in the courtroom later on in the story.)

Jo objects too hard in court.

Another example, and one that goes along with not making us feel stupid by comparison, is Jo presses the medical examiner too hard in court.

It doesn’t play well with the jury, but Kaffee doesn’t chastise her for it or belittle her. It happened, and he minimizes the damage with his reaction.

So we want to create smart characters for our script.

The beauty of this? It shouldn’t be all that challenging, because we’re creating the world in which these characters exist!

We control their odds of success.

By establishing and laying out our plot, they’ll understand certain situations before the audience, and we know they have the details because they’re extensions of us.

These characters will “feel” real, when in actuality they’re simply words on a page.

That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

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