Professor Firstdraft’s GOODTIME SCRIPTORIUM

Dispatches from the far reaches of the WGF.


Screenplay 101: NOTORIOUS

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Here's something you may not know: We have every one of the WGA's 101 Greatest Screenplays right on the shelves of our library. From Ben Hecht's 1946 spy thriller NOTORIOUS to the Epstein brothers' CASABLANCA, we're fully stocked with the scripts voted the best in history by WGA members. And over the coming year, we'll be posting pages from each and every one. To start, here's the aforementioned NOTORIOUS by Ben Hecht, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ingrid Bergman, Cary ...
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The One Where We Just Blatantly Copy Buzzfeed

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It's Thanksgiving (in the United States)! A day best spent in the warm comforting glow of friends. Or even better, the warm comforting glow of Friends, which featured a Thanksgiving episode in each of its ten seasons. Buzzfeed writer Jaimie Etkin recently ran an amazingly thorough piece ranking all ten Turkey Day episodes from worst to best. Jaimie's choices notwithstanding - one does not simply rank the episode with Joey's "moo point" joke last and then include a gif that highlights that very joke ...
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Oral History: Our Garry Marshall Interview, and an explanation

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Over the years, the Writers Guild Foundation has conducted dozens of interviews documenting the oral histories of screen and television writers. We did it in an effort to preserve their stories before they passed on, and to document the conditions and experiences that crafted the experiences of the creators of the 20th Century's most memorable popular culture. It was a great idea with near-perfect execution, with one flaw: Once we recorded these histories, we burned them to DVDs and put them ...
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Revisiting the Blacklist:
“An unparalleled campaign of cumulative calumny…”

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Revisiting the Blacklist
Such was the dilemma faced by Hollywood, and “particularly the screen writers,” as described by Garrett Graham in his article “Witch-Hunting in Hollywood” published in the June 1947 issue of The Screen Writer.  This historical Screen Writers’ Guild publication is ripe with fascinating pieces dealing with censorship, blacklisting, and the general political and creative atmosphere of the film industry as a whole, as seen from the perspective of the writer. While blacklisted writers such as Trumbo and Maltz were finding creative ...
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Revisiting the Blacklist:
Relics from the “Hollywood Ten”

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As a month host to several Hollywood Blacklist watersheds, November 1947 is remembered by screenwriters and film historians past and present as a period of political turmoil and creative confinement. To revisit the era, the WGF Library and Archive have a number of interesting artifacts that we’ll be highlighting on the blog over the next couple of weeks. First off... to commemorate the upcoming November 24th anniversary of the Hollywood Ten’s day in contempt of Congress, we’d like to share a ...
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Austin Was A Blast

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You might be wondering why our posting schedule has been a bit off lately. Apparently this is what happens when your entire staff visits the biggest writer-focused film festival in the country and gets - maybe - three hours of sleep per night the whole time you're there. Yeah, we can't recommend the Austin Film Festival highly enough. No promises yet, but we're hoping to return next year with another great selection of items from our library and archive.
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What we’re doing in Austin

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As I write this, we're in final preparations to head to the Austin Film Fest and present our SCRIBBLE TO SCREEN panel and exhibit. If you've explored our website before, you know a little about S2S; it's a collection of early notes and handwritten drafts to classics like A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN and MY SO-CALLED LIFE. You can check it out online here. But this is the first time we've ever made a live event out of it, and we're ...
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To Austin!

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We might have mentioned it already, but we're heading to the Austin Film Festival next week. If you called and nobody answered the phone, it's probably because we're all running around in circles asking each other in a panic whether we packed all the audiovisual cables we need, or whether we just said we were going to pack them, and if we didn't pack them yet, oh god where could they be. You know, that sort of thing. Here's a quick look at ...
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The Magical Wonders of
Archival Processing

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In honor of National Archives Month, here's an exclusive sneak peek at how stacks and stacks of scripts, papers, photographs, disks and more are processed in the WGF Archive. Imagine the last scene in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK where rows of boxes with rare treasures sit and gather dust...waiting to be discovered.  Or transport yourself to a cold, dark garage where musty papers and old LPs in warped, dingy boxes long for attention.  Believe it or not, this is how ...
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