Dragon Sukuro-ru: On Writing
This is the item that, for the most part, with a few exceptions was the item that I most affected, since I was the script writer. I had taken the challenge of writing the script, since it was different and yet similar to writing a comic book script. Substitute the artist for a cameraman, telling him what to shoot, but there is more to it than that, starting with the scale and scope. The show was in trouble from the very beginning, as the script was planned for a 16-episode series, that over time was pared down to 9 and then 6 and finally 3 episodes. Rather than rewriting the script from scratch, I made the error of scaling down the story and taking items out rather than simply starting completely over again, while trying to fit the entire cast into 3 episodes.
Of course you can see where this can lead: rather than having any real character development, you get small pieces of each character to the point where a first time viewer wouldn’t know who anyone was. For instance, the villain himself, Lao Feng, was nothing more than a cookie cutter villain. You knew what he wanted, but you didn’t really know why, and what his backstory with Master Tao was. John Satbury, who played Lao Feng, did his best, but the dialogue wasn’t working, and so I had him basically toss the script away and come up with his own version of the scripted dialogue, and it was fun, if not as overall menacing as he would need to be, but that was my fault for not giving John a strong enough script and sense of character. In that regard, I failed the actors in the first episode, as I, being the writer, didn’t have as clear as sense of the characters as I should have. Some of that has to do with the pared down script, and not rewriting it from scratch. As you can see in the first episode you meet a bunch of characters, but not all of them, which is another problem. In the first episode, ALL of the major players should be seen: Katsumi (Master Imura’s daughter), Master Tafari (Oren’s father), Kazuhiro Hayate (Yep, you never saw him except for the trailers. He has the most distinctive look and needed to be seen.) If you want to get an audience interested in the story, character comes first, and the most dramatic characters were never met, which leads to the next problem: there were too many of them. For a small no-budget indie film the script should have centered on two or three characters: The main hero, the main villain, and maybe a love interest or sidekick. We had about 8 major characters and a ton of secondary characters, which was just ludicrous on my part, even if the show had stayed on 16 episodes! I never recognized this, or maybe I refused to. Rewriting the script over and over again took its toll, since I had many other responsibilities, and I looked for as many shortcuts as I could, when once again, starting over with a blank page would have solved a lot of this.