WHERE ON EARTH DID HE (OR SHE) COME FROM?
The screenplay I’m working on was adapted from a fairly long book. That meant some fairly drastic cutting was required. But cutting—particularly on that scale—has consequences.
The consequences tend to include the introduction of characters. In a book, introducing a character is relatively easy because you are not constrained by space and can include people’s thoughts.
Where a screenplay is concerned, the problem is much more difficult—and yet characters cannot just pop out of nowhere (though they often do—especially in bad movies). There has to be, or should be, some rationale, some context.
The best conversion of a book into a movie—that I can recall offhand—concerned turning Leo Tolstoy’s WAR & PEACE into a movie. That meant turning about 1,200 pages of book (depending upon the edition) into about 140 pages of screenplay—and a pretty good movie. Actually I saw the movie before I read the book, and fell in love with Audrey Hepburn then and there. I was eleven or twelve at the time.
Currently, I’m encountering linkage issues in the screenplay, and one character has been eliminated completely. What to do?
Right at this moment, I have absolutely no ideas—but the great thing about writing is that the impossible is normally solvable after a good night’s sleep or a long walk.
Or I can run screaming into the darkness…