Professor Firstdraft’s GOODTIME SCRIPTORIUM

Dispatches from the far reaches of the WGF.


SCREENPLAY 101: 8 1/2

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(Editor's note: Today's installment of Screenplay 101 is brought to you by Greg Beal, director of the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. If you like what you see, remember that Greg will be at our spring screenwriting symposium, FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FEATURE, on April 12. Click here for more info.) Where to begin? At the beginning – with one of the most famous opening scenes in film history – a traffic jam in Rome, a man whose face we haven’t seen surrounded ...
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SCREENPLAY 101: FIELD OF DREAMS

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photo posted on www.post-gazette.com
Were you the kid always picked last for sports teams? The one who groans when the suggestion of playing a friendly game of basketball or baseball arises? If that's you, don't let the baseball theme deter you from watching number 88 on WGA's List of 101 Greatest Screenplays: FIELD OF DREAMS. FIELD OF DREAMS, screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson, is an adaptation of the book SHOELESS JOE by W.P. Kinsella that delves into the historical 1920 Black Sox Scandal wherein the ...
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Sam and Dean Winchester’s Last Meal On Earth

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(Bloggery Trifecta! This Fan Foods post is cross-posted at the mouthwatering Garlic My Soul blog AND the geek-freakin'-tastic Fanboy Comics website. Because SYNERGY. But seriously: Check out both sites. GMS is a wonderland of culinary delights, and the sheer volume of material at Fanboy Comics will keep you glued to your screen for days.) [Mild but good-natured spoilers ahead] Sam and Dean Winchester have a pretty tight schedule. Who of us would be able to juggle starting the apocalypse, dying, being resurrected, ...
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SCREENPLAY 101: FORREST GUMP

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Today we take a seat on a bus bench on the humble streets of Savannah, Georgia to discuss number 89 on the WGA 101 list - which, if the Southern setting was no indicator, is FORREST GUMP (screenplay by Eric Roth and based on the novel by Winston Groom). We bring to you the opening scene script pages dating to Aug. 25 1993 which include one of the most repeated adages of our time: "Mama always said, 'Life was like ...
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Rachel Green’s Traditional English Trifle

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Don’t worry, Rachel. We’ve all been there. Who of us hasn’t accidentally put beef in a Traditional English Trifle? That's a page from the FRIENDS episode "The One Where Ross Got High," written by Greg Malins. It's the episode where... well, read the page. Some of the greatest discoveries of our civilization have been through happy accident (penicillin, corn flakes, the psychedelic nature of LSD) so it’s for the sake of ingenuity that we here at the Foundation are rooting for Rachel Green’s ...
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Screenplay 101: SIDEWAYS

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It seems like fairly common knowledge that one of the main elements for a successful story is to create sympathy for your main character.  Sympathy connects the audience to the main character; thus we end up rooting for them. In SIDEWAYS - Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Rex Pickett, and number 90 on the WGA101 list - the sympathy for the main character is built in a unique and striking way.  This scene appears at ...
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Screenplay 101: THE VERDICT

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Inciting Incident 101 – We all know the term – it’s that certain plot point that occurs early on in the story which changes the trajectory for the main character. In other words, it’s what gets the story going. In this scene from THE VERDICT (Screenplay by David Mamet, based on the novel by Barry Reed, and #91 on the WGA 101 list), Mickey confronts Frank Galvin (in the script you'll notice his name is Joe Galvin) about his drinking, and tells him ...
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SCREENPLAY 101: PSYCHO

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I was tempted to post these pages with no commentary - partly because it's the shower scene from PSYCHO - which really requires no introduction - and partly because I'm terribly, terribly lazy. But good sense won out, and here we are at number 92 on the list: PSYCHO. Screenplay by Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. We've all read screenplays that function as little more than instruction manuals for directors and actors. Those are the ones we tend to ...
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The Walking Dead: Let Them Eat Pudding…and Brains

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Warning: WALKING DEAD spoilers ahoy in this post. In getting ready for our upcoming WALKING DEAD event, we realized something: We’re worried about Carl. I mean, the kid’s drawn a short straw, no questions about it. And who are we to judge? But we’re slightly concerned he may be turning into a sociopath. Then again, maybe in these dire times it’s the sociopaths who will inherit the earth. Whatever the future holds for young Carl, one thing is clear: The boy loves him some pudding. ...
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Screenplay 101: DO THE RIGHT THING

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DO THE RIGHT THING wasn't Spike Lee's first movie - it was preceded by the almost-as-excellent SCHOOL DAZE and SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, as well as some student work - but it's Spike's only appearance on the WGA 101 list, and an incisive, entertaining slice of racial tensions in immediately-post-Reagan America. These pages, from a March 1, 1988 draft,  detail the film's inciting incident - a conflict between Buggin' Out (played by Giancarlo Esposito - yes, that Giancarlo Esposito) and pizzeria owner ...
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