3

Characterization

The necessity to create interesting, sympathetic, and unique characters for dramatic effect is complicated by the process of adapting the novel or short story into the screenplay. As noted critic Thomas Craven said (1926, pp. 489–90):

I doubt if the most artistic and sympathetic reader ever visualizes a character; he responds to that part of a created figure which is also himself. But he does not actually see his hero. For this reason all illustrations are disappointing.

No successful screenplay can afford to be disappointing. Its characters must excite and intrigue us while commanding our emotional involvement. We must root for them, agonize with them, experience their internal conflicts, and share the joys of their triumphs ...

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