An excerpt from my script review for Doctor Sleep which will be available 11/12/19:
3.) Quality of Characters
Understand the medium you’re working in.
When writing a novel you can take all the time in the world to develop your setting, your characters, and how they relate to one another.
You are also free to have multiple characters do as much or as little as you wish.
With a script, your story needs to be tight.
What the screenwriter did on this script was excellent in that he combined some of the minor characters into larger supporting character roles, eliminating the need for so many people it’s hard to tell who is who.
For instance Billy takes on the roles of both Casey Kingsley and Dr. John Dalton, making it easily the best combination, and arguably a no-brainer.
Next, Abra’s parents play the main role of her caretakers, but in the book she has an additional important family member in Concetta, often called Momo. Although I liked this character, and she’s referenced in the script, taking the time to introduce and employ her in the main plot would take too long, especially when Abra’s parents fill the necessary roles perfectly well.
Lastly for the combination portion, Crow Daddy is given a bigger role in the film, and made a bit smarter too. This helps so we focus more on him as a bad guy, and although most of the other members are referenced, they’re more or less meant for the meat grinder once Dan steps in to protect Abra.
The takeaway here is that you should be looking for options to do this in your own writing.
“But Hank, I haven’t written a novel that my script is based on.”
That’s fine. You should still be looking for opportunities to streamline you story and this is a great place to start.
Why use 2 or 3 when a single one works, and makes the story stronger?
One final “nod” to the writer is on Dick Halloran.
I was curious why he showed up as a ghost to Danny throughout when he was alive and well at the beginning of the novel. Then I remembered Dick didn’t survive in the original film adaptation.
Clever little change to make this portion still work, since Dick was an important mentor.
(Oh, and Jack now being Lloyd who confronts Dan at the Overlook. Although I haven’t reached that part in the novel yet, I’m assuming it’s in both, but in case it’s not…kudos!)
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