A memorable scene from Say Anything (written by Cameron Crowe):
Setup: Lloyd drives over to Diane’s house to deliver a message:
INT. DIANE'S HOUSE - DAY Diane is lying on her bed, upset. We hear music coming from outside. Diane lifts her head slightly. EXT. DIANE'S HOUSE - DAY Lloyd has driven over, and is holding a boom box high above his head with both hands. It is playing 'In Your Eyes'. INT. DIANE'S HOUSE - DAY Diane lets her head drop back onto the pillow when she realises where the music is coming from, and who it is. EXT. DIANE'S HOUSE - DAY Lloyd is still there, in the same position as before. INT. DIANE'S HOUSE - DAY Diane turns away from the window, trying to ignore the music. EXT. DIANE'S HOUSE - DAY Lloyd is still there, raising the box slightly at times, getting uncomfortable, but still stays there. The camera slowly zooms into his face.
Here is the movie scene:
Questions to ask to analyze the scene:
* What elements in the movie scene are the same as the script?
* What elements in the movie scene are different than the script?
* Regarding the differences, put yourself in the mindset of the filmmakers and speculate: Why did they make the changes they did?
* How did the changes improve the scene?
* Alternatively are there elements in the script, not present in the movie, that are better than the final version of the scene?
* Note each camera shot in the movie version. Which of them does the script suggest via sluglines or scene description?
* How does the script convey a sense of the scene’s tone, feel, and pace through scene description and dialogue?
* What ‘magic’ exists in the movie that is not indicated in the words of the script? How do you suppose that magic emerged?
I’ll see you in comments for a discussion of this terrific scene from Say Anything.
One of the single best things you can do to learn the craft of screenwriting is to read the script while watching the movie. After all a screenplay is a blueprint to make a movie and it’s that magic of what happens between printed page and final print that can inform how you approach writing scenes. That is the purpose of Script To Screen, a weekly series on GITS where we analyze a memorable movie scene and the script pages that inspired it.