Daily Dialogue — June 22, 2013

June 22nd, 2013 by


CLOSE ON breakfast, a substance with a consistency somewhere between yogurt and cellulite.

TANK: Here you go, buddy. Breakfast of champions.

Tank slides it in front of Neo and takes a seat with the other crew members enjoying breakfast.

APOC: You mean the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions.
MOUSE: If you close your eyes, it almost feels like you’re eating runny eggs.
APOC: Or a bowl of snot.
MOUSE: But you know what it really reminds me of? Cream of Wheat. Did you ever eat Cream of Wheat?
SWITCH: No, but technically neither did you.
MOUSE: Exactly my point, because you have to wonder, how do the machines know what Cream of Wheat really tasted like? Maybe they got it wrong, maybe what I think Cream of Wheat tasted like actually tasted like oatmeal, or tuna fish. It makes you wonder about a lot of things. Take chicken for example. Maybe they couldn’t figure out what to make chicken taste like which is why chicken tastes like everything. And maybe –
APOC: Shut up, Mouse.

Neo scoops up a spoonful.

DOZER: It’s a single-celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything your body needs. We grow it in a vat.
MOUSE: Oh no, it doesn’t have everything the body needs.

He sidles up to Neo.

MOUSE: So I understand you’ve run through the Agent training program? You know, I wrote that program.
APOC: Here it comes.
MOUSE: So what did you think of her?
NEO: Of who?
MOUSE: The woman in the red dress. I designed her. She doesn’t talk much but if you’d like to, you know, meet her, I could arrange a more personalized milieu.
SWITCH: The digital pimp hard at work.
MOUSE: Pay no attention to these hypocrites, Neo. To deny our impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.

The Matrix (1999), written by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is dinner scene, suggested by Turambar. Today’s suggestion by plinytheelder_t.

Trivia: The Wachowskis harbored their vision for five and a half years, working through 14 drafts of the screenplay. The final concepts took up 500 storyboards.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This observation by pliny: “A lesson on Cartesian Philosophy disguised as a breakfast scene.”

Update: The 10 Quest Initiative Finalists!

June 21st, 2013 by

If you are interested in learning the identities of the finalists for The Quest Initiative, hit MORE.


Update: Gender as represented in spec script sales

June 21st, 2013 by

Yesterday I posted this:

Kudos to Susana Orozco who went through every single transaction in The Definitive Spec Script Sales List from 1991-2012 and discovered this:


The story has now been picked up by TheWrap.

We present the numbers to contribute information to an ongoing, important conversation about diversity on the creative side of the entertainment business.

Note: The numbers in the infographic reflect the total of female writers involved in spec script sales year to year. They differ from the actual number of spec script deals because many scripts involve teams with two, three, and sometimes even four writers.

Here are the numbers of spec script sales as reflected in The Definitive Spec Script Sales List 1991-2012:

1991: 28

1992: 40

1993: 89

1994: 103

1995: 172

1996: 155

1997: 140

1998: 110

1999: 83

2000: 92

2001: 101

2002: 114

2003: 88

2004: 76

2005: 58

2006: 60

2007: 65

2008: 87

2009: 67

2010: 55

2011: 110

2012: 99

Total Spec Script Sales 1991-2012: 1,992

Total Male Writers: 2,230

Total Female Writers: 336

As I always note, tracking spec script sales is not an exact science. But with what we do here as well as DoneDealPro, Jason Scoggins, the trades, and other sources, these figures represent a reliable overall historical take on the spec script market.

Please feel free to head to comments to continue the conversation.

Interview: Daniel Kunka — Part 5

June 21st, 2013 by

Screenwriter Daniel Kunka wrote the 2009 movie 12 Rounds and has sold two high profile spec scripts: Agent Ox and Bermuda Triangle. In addition, Daniel is working on the project “Crime of the Century” with Chris Morgan producing.

Recently Daniel and I had an excellent conversation which I am happy to share here.

Today in Part 5, Daniel shares some insights into his approach to the craft of screenwriting:

Scott:   How about some craft questions. How do you come up with story ideas?

Daniel:  Who knows? It’s a lot of surfing the Internet, reading news articles, looking at old movies. For me, I like to marry ideas that might not have a lot in common. For Agent Ox, I love spy thrillers, so it was taking that but putting it on an alien planet.  For Bermuda, it was the concept of the triangle but marrying it with a disaster movie.

I definitely think that it’s something you can train yourself to do. It’s about going to movies or reading scripts and seeing how ideas work. Once you learn to think critically about other scripts, you can start to see why the writer did this or that and that will eventually get you to think the same way about your ideas.

For me, I usually find an idea somewhere out there in the ether and then I just jot it down or start a new document for it on my computer. Then I just let it sit for awhile, and if I find myself coming back to it and thinking about it more I know it might have a chance.

Scott:  How important do you think the story concept is to the overall strength and commercial viability of a spec script?

Daniel:  It’s pretty darn important. I know when I was younger, I would be in writers groups or just talking to other struggling writers and there was always this feeling that “writing trumps all.” Meaning as long as the script was written well it would find a home. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case in today’s marketplace, or if it ever really was the case at all, we just didn’t know any better.

Just take a look at scripts that are on the Black List that never get picked up. They’re exceptionally well written and publicized, but it doesn’t always equal success as a spec script. Now obviously the flip side to that – and this was the case for me in that the 12 Rounds opportunity came directly from a script that didn’t sell – is you take meetings, you meet the town, you can find rewrite gigs or land other jobs.

But my thinking is, if you’re going to take the time to write a spec, aim high. You want it to sell. And if it’s going to sell, the concept is key. It has to be a movie. To me that’s the path of least resistance to making screenwriting your career, by giving the buyers scripts they have to buy.

Scott:  How much time do you spend in prep writing, and which of the aspects of prep do you tend to devote the most time to?

Dan: Every script I write, I start with a treatment. I open up a document and I just brain dump the idea. What’s the concept, who are my characters, what are some set pieces and plot. I just get everything I can about the idea down on paper.

Then I spend some time writing out the beginning and the end of the movie. I’m not usually as concerned about the second act. I want to make sure I have a sound first act, that I know where my characters start and how the action starts. Then I want to make sure I have a very strong end of the first act, that there’s an active decision that starts the second act and drives the rest of the script.

Then I focus on the end. This tends to be broader strokes, but how is the action going to dovetail, where are my characters going to end up, what’s the climax of the story. Once I have that written out – usually anywhere from eight to fifteen pages – I’ll start writing actual script pages. The second act I leave a little bit to self-discovery.  I probably know a few things that have to happen, but as long as I know where my story and characters start and I know where they end, I’m confident that I can find the middle as I go.

Scott:  What about dialogue? How do you go about finding the voices of your characters?

Daniel:  It’s a process. For me, dialogue is the most revised part of a script, and I think for a first draft, what you want is to be as minimalistic as possible. So I approach dialogue on a “need to know” basis. Then in a second draft it’s rewriting and trimming and adding jokes where you need them and just figuring out exactly how your characters would react to situations now that you’ve gotten a whole draft to know them.

I think everyone goes through an Aaron Sorkin or Quentin Tarantino phase where they try to write these intricate dialogue passages but to me those guys are the exception and not the rule. Brevity is almost always better, especially when you’re a young writer, and bad dialogue kills, so a lot of time less is definitely more.

Scott:  How about theme? How important is that to you? Do you hit it at the beginning of the process, during the process, at the end of the process?

Daniel: Through the entire process, really. But for me, theme is usually something I find as I write through the first draft. I probably have a general idea when I start, but theme becomes the unifying factor as I go. I always work better sort of discovering it rather than coming up with something early in the process or even before I start writing pages. That’s not to say it’s not there, but I don’t consciously make the decision “this is my theme.”

I think theme is directly related to voice. A lot of my themes are similar, because those are the stories I want to tell. And it’s not planned, it just is. Because of that I’ll sort of trust my theme to tag along with me until I’m done with the first draft, then the second draft is when I’ll go back in and add a few lines here or there to highlight some things that will help take the piece to the level I want it.

Tomorrow in Part 6, Daniel talks more about the craft of screenwriting.

For Part 1, go here.

For Part 2, go here.

For Part 3, go here.

For Part 4, go here.

Please stop by comments to thank Daniel and ask any questions you may have.

Daniel is repped by ICM Partners and Madhouse Entertainment.

Twitter: @unikunka.

Spec Script Sale: “Criminal”

June 21st, 2013 by

Millennium Films acquires action spec script “Criminal” written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg. From Deadline:

This one is an action movie about the right man in the wrong body. In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous prison inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.

Cook and Weisberg (The Rock) are repped by Resolution and BenderSpink.

By my count, this is the 52nd spec script sale of 2013.

There were 63 spec script sales year-to-date in 2012.

Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber: Numbers 191-200

June 21st, 2013 by

Jeff Lieber is a screenwriter and TV writer. His movie credits include Tuck Everlasting and he is currently an executive producer of the USA Network series “Necessary Roughness.” On Twitter (@JeffLieber), he has run a series of tweets called Showrunner Rules. For background on Jeff and this Twitter series, go here.

Today: Numbers 191-200:

Showrunner Rule #191: Strange phenomenon that actors net/stud casting directors consider “gets” are known by general public as, “Wait, WHO?”

Showrunner Rule #192: Best moment in script is invariably dialogle-less. It’s the look, clue, image that ties whole episode together.

Showrunner Rule #193: Identify that moment on set when fixing a performance in post is more efficient then fighting to get it on the day.

Showrunner Rule #194 (1 of 3): Ideal staff = 3 people who can write the crap out of the show… 1 person great at covering set…

Showrunner Rule #194 (2 of 3): …1 person who can warm up cuts… 1 person who keeps room on task… & 1 person who just makes you laugh.

Showrunner Rule #194 (2 of 3): Everyone else… is gravy.

Showrunner Rule #195: Even when not ur FAULT, ur PROBLEM. 6 rainy days means 5 dropped strips? U get paid 2 figure out how 2 get’m shot!

Showrunner Rule #196: U gunna have to write the @#$@$@#$ finale. Cause its your show, sure, but also… cause everyone is running on fumes.

Showrunner Rule #197: If your agents are spending the day trying 2 get a rise outta someone else’s agent… make someone else’s agent yours.

Showrunner Rule #198: Can’t establish every color for character in pilot. Gotta get all the blue filled in before grabbing the red crayon.

Showrunner Rule #199: Procedurals tend to have A, B stories & a C runner. Soaps, maybe A-D (w/ an E runner.) Have an F story? You F’d up.

Showrunner Rule #200: 200 of anything… is probably enough. So, onto something new… soon. (Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints?) — J

Here is Jeff’s bio:

One day in 1986, after blowing up a glass beaker in a lab in high school, Jeffrey Lieber’s science teacher, Dr. Nagoi, turned to him and said, “Jeffrey… you be an actor… you be a writer… maybe have a family… but please, dear God, don’t be a chemist.” And it was those words that launched a journey that has ended up with Mr. Lieber becoming a screenwriter, showrunner, blogger, father and husband (Credits? Go here). Every day, while pursuing his passions, Mr. Lieber takes a moment to stop and thank Dr. Nagoi for his sage advice.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter (@JeffLieber).

For all of the Showrunner Rules, go here.

Coming up soon: My interview with Jeff.

Movie Trailer: “Insidious: Chapter 2”

June 21st, 2013 by

Screenplay by Leigh Whannell

The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.

IMDB site

Release Date: 13 September 2013 (USA)

30 Days of Screenplays, Day 21: “When Harry Met Sally”

June 21st, 2013 by

Welcome to June and the series: 30 Days of Screenplays.

Why 30 screenplays in 30 days?

Because whether you are a novice just starting to learn the craft of screenwriting or someone who has been writing for many years, you should be reading scripts.

There is a certain type of knowledge and understanding about screenwriting you can only get from reading scripts, giving you an innate sense of pace, feel, tone, style, how to approach writing scenes, how create flow, and so forth.

So each day this month, I will provide background on and access to a notable movie script.

Today is Day 21 and the featured screenplay is for the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally. You may download a PDF of the script here.

Background: Original screenplay written by Nora Ephron.

Plot summary: Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the friendship.

Tagline: Can men and women be friends or does sex always get in the way?

Awards: Nominated for WGA Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, nominated for Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Trivia: For the infamous orgasm scene, the original script called for just Harry and Sally to talk about women faking an orgasm, until Meg Ryan suggested that Sally actually fake an orgasm at the table. Rob Reiner loved the idea and put it into the script.


I’ll be honest: I’m not the biggest fan in the world of rom-coms. At least I say that. Then when I start ticking off some of my favorite movies — The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, Annie Hall, Bull Durham — I realize I’m basically full of it. Same goes with When Harry Met Sally. I had really low expectations when I went to see the movie when it first came out. And of course, loved it. Which is interesting because it’s a very ‘slight’ film. We know little about the backgrounds of Harry or Sally, and nothing much happens except the couple falls in love. And yet, somehow the story works.

Sure, the dialogue sparkles as one would expect from a Nora Ephron penned script. But the key, I think, is that the movie stays laser targeted on the central question of the story, right there one of the taglines: Can two friends sleep together and still be love each other in the morning?

From the very first moment the two meet, it’s inevitable they will have sex. That is a subtext that plays out through all of Act One and most of Act Two until they do, indeed, sleep together. So the story has the tension of when they’ll do it, then how they’ll react afterward.

The movie is an interesting interplay of two quite different world views as represented by Harry and Sally, and almost all just that. Female viewers and male viewers get to project themselves into those worlds views to experience the tension between the two. And there is that terrific ending:

Whatever the magic, it’s a wonderful movie – and script.

What’s your take on Platoon? Stop by comments and post your thoughts.

To see all of the posts in the 30 Days of Screenplays series, go here.

This series and use of screenplays is for educational purposes only!

Great Character: Guido (“Life is Beautiful”)

June 21st, 2013 by

This month’s theme: Father figures. Today’s guest post by Jason Cuthbert features Guido from the 1997 movie Life Is Beautiful, written by Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni.

“Life is Beautiful,” or “La vita è bella” in its original Italian language, is a dynamic 1998 romantic comedy drama that follows the heart-warming and heart-breaking extents that a loving father goes to shield his young innocent son from the genocidal horrors of the German Nazi occupation and the demonic onslaught known as the Holocaust. Roberto Benigni, the highly engaging Italian actor, scriptwriter, and filmmaker stars as Guido, the perpetually smiling spark of life who’s ability to always look on the bright side illuminates the lives of every person he ever comes across – especially his son Joshua.

Roberto Benigni not only played center stage in the lead actor position, but he sat comfortably in the director’s chair and shared the screenwriter’s desk with Vincenzo Cerami. Life was definitely beautiful for “Life is Beautiful” at the box office with $229,163,264, and in the award category: three Academy Awards, Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival, People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, BAFTA Film Award, CFCA Award, Lumiere Award and two National Board of Review Awards as just the tip of this movie’s successful iceberg.

Life is Beautiful plot summary from IMDB:

A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humor, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.

Guido is an Italian/Jewish father figure that treats his family like a treasured audience for him to entertain, inspire and to celebrate the world around them with. He loves stories, which we learn as he becomes a bookstore owner and through his spontaneously constructed exaggerations that repaint real life in more shiny and happy hues. Guido’s arrival into a new town may seem mundane on the outside looking in, but on the inside looking out – Guido feels like a prince relocating to his palace.

GUIDO: What kind of place is this? It’s beautiful: Pigeons fly, women fall from the sky! I’m moving here!

With enthusiasm as his paintbrush and unconditional love as his spectacular spectrum of paint, Guido can mutate anti-Semitic slurs used to weaken him into silly, goofy pranks that his young son Joshua doesn’t have to be afraid of. Although his “kill them with kindness” response to pure hatred may seem way too passive for adults who have suffered through such evil aggression, to Guido’s naive son, the sting of this unprovoked ignorance is being diluted and the safety of childhood is being preserved.

Guido continues to shelter Joshua from the evil that men do when he and his son are abducted and sent off to a concentration camp. His vast imagination continues to flourish and be challenged with harsher realities that he must struggle through to keep a level head and an unpolluted spirit about for the sake of his son’s sanity.

GUIDO: You can lose all your points for any one of three things. One: If you cry. Two: If you ask to see your mother. Three: If you’re hungry and ask for a snack! Forget it!

What makes Guido such an enduring and beautiful human being is that he refuses to let his inner frustrations and anger bubble up to the surface and sabotage his son’s piece of mind in such a horrid predicament. Never once does he complain or beg for mercy in the presence of Joshua. It is as if he has already accepted his fate, and is now dedicated to maintaining the best possible experience for Joshua, for however much time they may have left, by transforming their dark future into a game of hope.

If Joshua really knew that innocent people around him were being systematically murdered, and him, his mother and father were probably next, the devastating trauma of that massive nightmare would haunt his every waking hour. The unrelenting certainty of sudden death would make it impossible to eat, sleep, think or appreciate life. Inner peace is the priceless gift that Guido gave Joshua by bending the rotten truth until it became its polar opposite. Ignorance definitely becomes bliss.

GUIDO: [carrying his son through the camp] You are such a good boy. You sleep now. Dream sweet dreams. Maybe we are both dreaming. Maybe this is all a dream, and in the morning, Mommy will wake us up with milk and cookies. Then, after we eat, I will make love to her two or three times. If I can.

Guido succeeds in two of the unwritten laws of being the ideal parent: give your child opportunities to flourish and keep them safe. Through this imaginary game, Guido is teaching his son to not quit (a fool-proof way to not fail) and to be self-reliant. Sure, he is misleading Joshua, but Guido understands the fragile nature of a child’s limited worldview.

For his noble self-sacrifice, his storytelling savvy, and his immaculate beauty radar, Guido is one easy-to-love GREAT CHARACTER.

At one level, we can look at Guido’s story as being about steadfastness, clinging to the game as a means to protect his son from the awful truth surrounding them and keeping him hidden. And so the fact he stays the course with such purposefulness throughout is one of the main thematic points: In the face of eventual annihilation, Guido persists. And so one could say his lack of an arc by maintaining his hopefulness is central to his character’s story.

But then I wonder if there is a subtle arc for his character as well. He begins a carefree fellow who fully enjoys his life, then thrust into in the concentration camp, Guido symbolically gives his fate over to his son by concocting the lie of the ‘game.’ Once begun, he has a choice every step of the way: To continue with the lie in order to protect his son or tell the truth and risk his son’s life. Guido persists with the lie, each time a selfless act. Then he takes the final step: With his death, he moves beyond symbolism to literally giving up his life for his son. If that is accurate, then not only does it suggest a character arc, it also speaks to a measure of growth on Guido’s part.

Thanks to Jason for yet another Great Character post. Join us in comments for a discussion of Guido in the movie Life is Beautiful.

Daily Dialogue — June 21, 2013

June 21st, 2013 by

BRODY: Come here. Give us a kiss.
SEAN: Why?
BRODY: Because I need it. Get out of here.
HOOPER: The door was open. Mind if I come in? I’m Matt Hooper.
ELLEN: Oh, hi. Ellen Brody.
HOOPER: Your husband’s home? I’d really like to talk to him.
ELLEN: Yes, so would I. Can I get you some coffee? Wine. How nice.
HOOPER: How was your day?
BRODY: Swell.
HOOPER: I got red and white. I didn’t know what you’d be serving.
ELLEN: That’s nice.
HOOPER: Is anyone eating this?
ELLEN: My husband tells me you’re in sharks.
HOOPER: Excuse me. Yes, I’ve never heard it quite put that way. But yes, I am. I love sharks.
ELLEN: You love sharks?
HOOPER: Yeah, I love them. When I was 12 years old, my father got me a boat, and I went fishing off of Cape Cod.
I hooked a scup and as I was reeling it in I hooked a four and a half foot baby thresher shark who proceeded to eat my boat. He ate my oar, hooks. and my seat cushions. He turned an inboard into an outboard. Scared me to death and I swam back to shore. When I was on the beach I turned around and I saw my boat being taken apart. Ever since then, I have been studying sharks and that’s why I’m gonna go to the institute tomorrow and tell them that you still have a shark problem here.
BRODY: Why do you have to tell them that?
ELLEN: I’m sorry, I thought that…. You told me the shark was caught. I heard it on the news. I heard it on the Cape station.
HOOPER: They caught a shark, not the shark. Not the shark that killed Chrissy Watkins. And probably not the shark that killed the little boy. Which I wanted to prove by cutting the shark open… You may want to let that breathe…. Nothing. … Yeah, yeah. … You’ll be the only rational man left on this island after I leave tomorrow.
ELLEN: Where are you going?
HOOPER: I am going on the Aurora.
ELLEN: The Aurora? What is that?
HOOPER: It’s a floating asylum for shark addicts. Pure research. Eighteen months at sea.
ELLEN: Martin hates boats. Martin hates water. Martin sits in his car when we go on the ferry to the mainland. I guess it’s a childhood thing. There’s a clinical name for it, isn’t there?
BRODY: Drowning. Is it true that most people get attacked by sharks in three feet of water about 10 feet from the beach?
BRODY: And before people started to swim for recreation — I mean, before sharks knew what they were missing — that a lot of these attacks weren’t reported?
HOOPER: That’s right.
BRODY: Now this shark that swims alone, what’s it called?
HOOPER: Rogue.
BRODY: Rogue, yeah. Now, this guy he keeps swimmin’ around in a place where the feeding is good… until the food supply is gone. Right?
HOOPER: That’s called territoriality. It’s just a theory that I happen to agree with.
BRODY: Then why don’t we have one more drink and go down and cut that shark open?
ELLEN: Can you do that?
BRODY: I can do anything. I’m the Chief of Police.

Jaws (1975), Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, book by Peter Benchley

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is dinner scene, suggested by Turambar. Today’s suggestion by Butch Maier.

Trivia: Producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown optioned the film rights to the novel for $175,000 in a deal which also included a first-draft screenplay from author Peter Benchley. This draft, extremely faithful to the novel, would later be rejected by Steven Spielberg. The subsequent two drafts from Benchley would also be rejected.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Butch: “What to learn from the “Jaws” dinner scene:

Much can be accomplished in a short amount of time in one location — even one as seemingly static as a table.

The scene before this one, Brody gets slapped in the face by Mrs. Kintner, whose son had been eaten after the chief knew there was a killer shark in the water.

So the dinner scene opens with Brody deep in thought at the table and a cute exchange — much needed as a relief from the tension after the slap — as young son Sean imitates his mannerisms. Ellen observes. Brody notices and they exchange scowls. That’s when the dad leans in to ask for a kiss because he needs it.

The kid leaves, and there’s a knock at the door. Hooper, the shark scientist, says he’d like to talk to Ellen’s husband, to which the wife replies, “So would I.” Those three words say a ton.

Brody is brooding and lets the others do most of the talking. But the focus still is on him.

Hooper asks, “How was your day?” Brody responds, “Swell.” Hooper knew the real answer to the question. Ellen knew. The audience knew. Yet the downplayed one-word false answer helps connect everyone even more — because we share in knowing the real truth.

Hooper brought two bottles of wine and helps himself to the leftovers, leading to him nearly choking as Ellen asks him, “So my husband tells me you’re in sharks.”

We hear a story about Hooper’s experience with sharks and why he is so fascinated. We hear a story from Ellen about Brody’s experience with the water.

There’s a good mix of hidden exposition and humor woven throughout. The audience learns about rogue sharks and the clinical name for Brody’s hatred of the water: “Drowning.”

Hooper tries to tell Brody, “You might wanna let that breathe,” as he pours the wine, but he knows Brody’s state of mind and follows it up with a humorous, “Nothing.”

When Hooper tells him they didn’t catch the right shark, Ellen is the one who debates him. Brody offers a plain-spoken question: “Why do you have to tell them that?” In other writers’ hands, Brody might have debated him. But the characters stay true to themselves. Ellen is the worrisome conversationalist. Brody is the steady man of few words.

The scene ends on a terrific button. Brody says to Hooper: “Then why don’t we have one more drink and go down and cut that shark open?” Ellen sets up her husband with “Can you do that?” Brody says: “I can do anything. I’m the Chief of Police.”

I have seen the movie countless times, including with my son when it was re-released in theaters for one day last August. To see it with an audience again was a special treat. Everyone in the theater was there because they enjoyed and respected the movie. There was neither talking nor texting. There was laughter in all the right places. And when the credits rolled, there was applause.

I encourage everyone to see it again. It’s not just a summer blockbuster. It’s a well-written story with rich characters and Oscar-winning editing, sound and music. It was a best picture nominee and should have received a best director nomination and actor recognition. It’s a treasure and the reason I named my production company Sumbadhat.”