An excerpt from my script review for Nope which will be available 01/16/23:
3.) Quality of Characters
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…please give us characters to care about.
It reminds me of my criticism in The Menu about Tyler being so dislikable, and why he won’t work as a romance for the lead.
(Or Em as she’s referred to in description.)
This is the end of her long-winded rant of an intro.
Oh and I’m Emerald Haywood! I also
act, write, direct, internet,
fashion, VFX, motorcycles, baby…
And I make a mean grilled cheese if
you’re looking for Crafty! I’ll be
FYI…I deleted over half of that dialogue entry which is one of four in about a page.
Nothing like shameless self promotion to turn win audiences over!
On top of that…page 24:
He was supposed to be my first
horse. Actually… I was just
talking to my therapist about this
not too long ago.
Yes. I fuck one on occasion, and I
was telling her about how for my
9th birthday I was gonna get to
train Jean Jacket. Remember this?
And last minute, Pops got some big
western, and Jean Jacket wasn’t
mine any more. Classic Otis Sr.
She’s constantly dropping shit like this into conversations.
We get it, you’re a lesbian Em, but that’s NOT why we don’t like you.
Just like a frat guy brags about all the “chicks” he’s “banged” as a way to compensate for whatever, it doesn’t make him endearing, it makes him a douchbag.
Same goes here.
Sorry your dad wasn’t the role model father figure, but you bragging about being a woman womanizer ain’t scoring you any points.
And then the constant dropping of the N-word.
C’mon…I get it…it’s a black writer directing a black actor…but try as you might, no one’s taking that shit back.
Even when the G.O.A.T. (Dave Chappelle) uses the word with an “a” at the end it’s kills his momentum because a good portion of the audience now feels uncomfortable to laugh!
I don’t know…maybe if Emerald wasn’t so off-putting I may have overlooked this, but it just added to her overall unappeal.
She’s a self-centered know-it-all who only really adds “annoying” to the story.
And that’s the writer’s fault.
(Maybe the actor salvaged something out of what she was given.)
To offset that?
Only he really didn’t.
OJ is just…there.
Remember his above line of “Mmm”? Get ready for a lot of that.
OJ plays it close to the chest, I guess, but unfortunately that does zero for either the plot or character development.
At one point he leaves this TMZ style videographer to die to the monster, because…we don’t know.
It’s not really to save himself or Emerald. He’s chasing after the guy to save him and then…doesn’t.
Almost like an emotional, “Jordan Schlansky” style robot.
Remember, write characters we’re invested in, and either love or love to hate!
(Boyd Crowder from Justified is a good example of the latter.)
We won’t be able to look inside their heads when this is onscreen, so you’ll need to show us in the script via their actions and reactions who they are and why we should care.
But there’s one more thing to learn from this script.
If you can, start at page 8 and read the STUDIO STAGE scenes.
Perhaps it’s because he was also shooting the script in addition to writing it, but Peele names damn near everyone on the set it feels like.
We don’t need all these character names.
It was too, too much.
Combine lines into existing characters that important, delete dialogue that’s not needed, or at the very least give them generic titles so we know not to focus on them.
Oh…you thought we were done in this section?
(See what I did there?)
One final thought…
Remember to keep things consistent for your reader.
If you have a character named “Emerald”, but everyone calls them “Em” then use “Em” in BOTH the description and dialogue entries.
Same goes for another named “Juniper” but everyone calls “Jupe”.
It can’t be one way in the description, and another in the dialogue…even if you plan to direct what you write. Okay, I mean it physically can be that way, because it is in this script, but for the courtesy of those involved with breathing life into your creation it really shouldn’t be.
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