I’ve found myself in an interesting situation lately as I’m working on three different stories at the same time after having worked on one story, N&D, almost exclusively for a very long time. So I’m juggling a lot more than I’ve been used to and trying to develop these three stories and characters whereas with N&D I knew the characters and most of my time and effort was dedicated in just getting the script to highlight the greatest aspects of the characters.
Cause I’ll say it again, story is character.
So with N&D I was honestly in mad obsessive love with my characters. They are as complete and as fully realized and as anything I’ve ever done and that’s one of the reasons I consider N&D to be my first, real, successful script. (Never mind the half dozen I’ve written previous). The story in N&D is very much about Max and Edison and the dynamics between the two while crazy things are going on around them and that was ALWAYS the heart of the script throughout every version. I know Max and Ed and I love Max and Ed. I can hear their voices. I can have conversations with them, hell I got silly at one point and ‘interviewed’ them about what happens after my script so I could get a handle on what needed to be in the script, you know? At any given moment, I can know what they’re arguing about, because have no doubt, they will be arguing unless otherwise engaged… And yet, they never fail to surprise me. Maybe this is schizophrenia, but they are honestly complete personalities enclosed in my head. And god, I love it! Screenwriting = Madness.
But for all the excitement and all the ideas for that I have for Max and Ed I know it’s necessary to move on. Which is where I’m a little snagged- in one of the things I’m working on now I have a protag who I realized this weekend, that I don’t especially like. Which is weird because I made the guy, right? I started him out with some of my favorite attributes and gave him some clever dialogue and defining moments. He is very different from Max and Ed and thus it’s a different kind of story. I’ve worked for a while at giving him a good solid arc and throwing him into quicksand, giving him depth- but his voice isn’t anywhere near as clear as Max and Ed were for me and that’s hurting dialogue, character dynamics, motivation, fucking everything. Realizing that I could take or leave him makes me feel like a bad parent. I can’t write a script about a character who I’m so lukewarm about- rather, I COULD, but I’m not going to. He is the bastard step-child in my mind, angry that I almost inevitably end up thinking- ‘You are not as cool as Max and Ed.’ He sulks a lot. He’s a loner. None of which lend him to being a very likable protagonist- or hasn’t yet. There is something missing in him that he’s not too eager to share with me and it’s fucking up my script, which is in turn pissing me off. He’s got to carry this script after all! If he doesn’t cut it out he’s going back to the bottom of the work pile cause the gal and company in the other new script are being just a tad more accessible and have room for more potential awesome likability.
And threatening him just isn’t getting me anywhere cause the bastard thinks he’s Holden Caufield and doesn’t give a flying fuck about me finishing my script.