As a Script Consultant UK I see a lot of scripts with underwritten characters. Writers often think the problems with their script start and end with the plot. In many cases the real problems are with the characters.
If your characters are cardboard, and the writer has no real idea what’s going in the characters heads – then your script will fall down quickly. No matter how well thought out your plot is. It won’t be real.
Writers should be encouraged to spend more time developing real characters, which the audience can identify with or at least understand and believe.
Now, and this is where we get to the real secret of good scriptwriting, characters, will create their own plots. That’s right, if you have a good enough characters, and a good enough grasp of that character and ability to write them well, and understand them- plot or ‘story’ will follow.
One of the biggest wins for me as a script consultant UK is showing writers how to breathe life into characters and make them living, real people.
Professional readers, working for broadcasters, studios and TV networks judge a lot of scripts on the writer’s ability to develop characters. Don Draper, Tony Soprano – characters who became the engine of shows that ran for many years are what readers look for, and are one of the ingredients of great drama – and for me, they’re first ingredient I put in the pot.
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour