For the first draft of my screenplay the general feedback I got from my screenwriting tutor and my cohorts was that whilst my script was well-written technically and filled with a lot of promise as a potential television pilot script, there were a few things I could still consider in order for it to be better.
One of the conflicting responses I got from people centred around the character of Tessa Trager. Whilst many people said that they liked her character and how I had written her, some people were concerned that she comes across a bit too strong and too tough, taken into account the time period in which my script is set. I couldn’t help but agree that I had introduced her too strongly and not left a lot of room for her to grow as a character. I came to the realisation that how I had written her in this first draft is the type of character I would want her to eventually become, so the benefit of her character arc (that I had missed) is to use the format of television writing to my advantage and establish that Tessa would go on a path that would eventually lead her to becoming that type of person I had written initially. Television serial writing allows you as a writer to take your time in developing your characters and this is something I would definitely take on board when it comes to rewriting.
Another piece of helpful feedback I had received was the way in which I introduced George Jenkins. I was told that I waited too long in the opening sequence to fully establish George Jenkins’ character. Since he is pivotal character to the plot of my series it would be essential that I give him a much stronger introduction that separates him from the rest of his posse as a key character so this is something I would definitely take on board for my next draft.
In regards to the dialogue of my characters, some people commented on the fact that the language in which my characters speak wasn’t consistent as characters would use slang that was used during the early 1900s as well as contemporary curse words that modern audiences would be familiar with; this inconsistency came across as jarring so in my next draft I would have to choose as to whether I stick with the actual slang and curse words used during the time, or more contemporary language so that it would be accessible to modern audiences.
Finally, in the last dialogue scene between William and Jackson I was told that the monologue William delivers to Jackson basically repeats what the audience already knows from the first opening sequence. I was advised to find a different way to convey William telling Jackson his backstory but not make it feel redundant. This is something that I have to figure out as I approach writing my second draft.