More Than Just the Script
The script, Kiddo, is one of my favorite stories I've ever written. Please do not mistake my pride with cockiness. If I went back to that script, I'd probably start tweaking the language like nobody's business. No, the story of Kiddo is something I had to wrestle with when creating it and I was able to accomplish everything I set out to do. I wanted to write a noir adventure set in the 1940s NYC with Nazis as the bad guys. And when I started my research, I couldn't believe the back story I discovered. Much of what's in the script is from that research, but there is so much I left out.
Along with creating the story, I developed my characters in ways I hadn't yet done. Some, I wrote short stories about them and others I simply created back stories that would never be referenced in the Kiddo. They were for me to help guide my writing when Mack needed to react to a situation. Why was he helping Chloe? Why did he leave the police force? Why is he so depressed and negative?
Writing a script or a novel, is more than just what you put on that page. It's what you don't put. It's what you write for yourself to help you create fully-expressed characters. Write everything. Not all of it will be in the script, but the feelings, emotions and motivations of your characters will be influenced by it.
If you're interested in reading my Mack Roberts description, it's below.
Mack Roberts (Age 53)
Born in 1888 and left on the doorstep of an orphanage, Mack has never known a decent family until he fell in love and married Georgia Pederson in 1909 at the age of 21. They had two children, John and Margaret, and life was good.
Not soon after, Mack found himself fighting alongside the English in World War I. While he was away, his wife, Georgia, was brutally murdered in their New York City flat by a deviant who had been terrorizing the city throughout the war. The children were playing at a neighbor’s apartment during the murder. After their mother’s death, they were taken by Georgia’s parents to live in upstate NY, where a better life could be provided. Mack reluctantly agreed and the chasm between his kids would grow over the years to the point when seeing each other was a chore. Mack relented and removed himself from their lives.
During that time, Mack signed up for the NYPD and dedicated his life to stopping criminals of the most heinous kind. It was that desire and passion and sometimes, brutal determination that landed him in hot water with the powers that be, enough so Mack was forced into early retirement in 1926.
But that didn’t stop Mack. He opened his own private investigator service within the city and actively searched for New York’s worst criminals. To pay the bills, Mack would take the usual PI cases: cheating spouses, petty theft, missing pets, etc.
It was on a case tracking down a serial killer, that Mack met Chloe. He had been tracking the killer’s whereabouts to the abandoned tenement near the docks when he found the body of his latest victim and a scared 15 year-old girl standing over her.
A few slices of pie helped the teenager open up to Mack and he heard all about her travels, her father’s friend and what she had left behind. What he didn’t hear about was her power, but he knew something was special about her. He took her in, partly to protect her against the city and to fill the void left by his own children no longer in his life.
He knew her name would attract attention and if she were truly running from the danger of the Third Reich, a new name would only help hide her more. He chose a name his daughter, Margaret, had named her favorite doll. Chloe. Hanover was just the name of the street he happened to make the deal with the city’s renowned purveyor of doctored credentials. Another perk of not being a police officer; you may occasionally dip below that morality line for a good cause.
So Mack set up his new ward, Chloe Hanover and it wasn’t much later when he discovered her gift as Mack tailed a suspect for the night, Chloe followed him. She had sensed something and went with her instincts. If she hadn’t, the bullet meant for Mack’s head would’ve reached its target. As it was, Chloe shoved him aside as soon as her vision became clearer. That shove made it no longer possible to hide the truth from Mack.
Upon hearing of the gift, Mack knew it was of utmost importance to keep her safe and to keep her unknown. He did everything he could to protect Chloe from the world. But she insisted on helping him with his cases and always the sucker, Mack relented.
Mack and Chloe were now the most important thing in each other’s lives.