Screenwriting – Alas Poor Jem.


Available as a download.

Adaptation from a novel to a film


Following the screenwriting course on Future Learn, I am describing the process that sets out the characteristics and motivation of the hero of this tale, Ned Merrick.

Ned’s major actions are to:

  • Complete the obituary of prizefighter Jem Belcher
  • To locate a series of people who knew the boxer and know about the “sport”
  • To become involved in a world that is alien to him
  • To bail out his quixotic friend Saul Crouchman who invariably leads him astray
  • To achieve an interview with a magazine publisher
  • To avoid marrying his employer’s daughter
  • To court Jem’s ex-mistress
  • To achieve his ambition to become a writer.

What are Ned’s wants and needs?

  • To write for a living
  • To conform, that is at odds with events around him
  • To please his father
  • To earn praise from his employer
  • To win the love of Jem’s mistress, Hannah.

Ned’s Personality.

  • Conformist
  • Cautious
  • Law-abiding
  • Imaginative
  • Essentially kind

Ned as viewed by a stranger

  • Diffident
  • No remarkable characteristics
  • Modestly dressed
  • Well-spoken.

Physical Features

  • Pleasant looking
  • Nondescript

Alas! Poor Jem



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