I’ve managed a bit of a breakthrough, tightening the pacing on the story (improving the first episode significantly) and getting a much livelier sense of the characters, which is immeasurably valuable.
I did it by eliminating/consolidating three characters.
Reminds me of a phrase used when it comes to modern media technology: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Polyphonic stories require ensemble casts: it is the nature of the tale. But too many characters and you muddy and confuse everything, and no one remembers who anyone else is. Too few, and you have no tension at all.
I’ve had to be mercenary about this story, looking at every scene from a screenwriting perspective: no wasted airtime. No wasted words, no wasted sound, no pointless scenes. But the difference here is that in a three-act film, every scene pushes the story forward on the shoulders of the main character (even though some scenes may not include the main character at all). In an ensemble/polyphonic story, each scene illuminates the nature of one or more relationships; and it’s these relationships that define the boundaries and spaces of the story.
I’m bold-facing that because it’s the kind of thing I want to come back to later on. That’s important. That’s exegetical document important.