misc How do writers go about researching material to flesh out their characters?

Yeah, I have no problem with a scene or sequence being based on someone's incompetence or lack of experience - that happens in real life (only today I found myself begging my current employers to take on someone with the relevant skills for the work, instead of continually scraping the bottom of the barrel of back-to-work schemes.) But when the character is a supposedly top-of-their-game professional but behaving like a student who's skipped most of his classes ... 🙄
 
Don't get me wrong... Loved the movie but the book was BETTER.

It pretty much happens the same way in the book but what you do NOT get in the movie are all the things going through Jame Gumb's MIND as he observes Clarice stumbling around in the dark. In that instant, he's obsessed with Starling. Loves her hair -- wants to skin it off her as soon as he kills her and put it on his own head to surprise Catherine Martin in the hole.
As adaptations go, this was well done; much better than the others screenplays from the same series of books. The gore was kept to a minimum and the script was pretty tight. As for the book being better than the screenplay, that tends to be the case as it is hard to cram all the good stuff from a book into a 2 hour film. Shawshank Redemption was one of those rare cases where the screenplay outdid the book (Stephan King's novella).

In terms of getting into the thoughts of the killer without off screen "narration" (which I am not particularly fond of in film anyways) it is very hard to pull off. Subtext is one way and I really do enjoy the creative ways writers employ to describe on screen those things that are not said.

Reservoir dogs had a good one with Buscemi's reluctance to tip the waitress to really describe his character, or Rocky's frustrations but forgiving and good hearted nature when he goes off on a tirade when his manager asks to help him... but then Rocky runs out of his apartment to accept him. Loved how the manager flinches just as Rocky rushes out to meet him after . That scene gets me all the time :) Such good writing...

Here is the best scene in Rocky for me
 
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