Next Go Into The Story Script Read and Analysis: “Ex Machina”

December 22nd, 2015 by

In 2015, several initiatives launched here at Go Into The Story. One of the best: A bi-weekly script read and analysis series. As a result, we have 50 scripts GITS readers have analyzed. Moreover I sought out volunteers this year to write up scene-by-scene breakdowns for each script we discussed, not only to serve as a foundation for our week-long discussion, but also to create an online resource for writers. To date, we have 26 scene-by-scene breakdowns.

On Monday, January 4, we will start the 2016 Script Read and Analysis series with Ex Machina, written and directed by Alex Garland.

Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Major Plot Points
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Takeaways

Scene-by-scene breakdown provided by Nick Norman-Butler. You may download the script here.

With the influx of over 40 movie scripts from 2015 recently made available to the public including notable ones such as Inside Out, Steve Jobs, Straight Outta Compton, Trainwreck, and The Hateful Eight, I am soliciting volunteers to read one of these stellar scripts and do a scene-by-scene breakdown to be used as the foundation of our bi-weekly script read series next year.

There are also nearly 150 movie scripts from the last 5 years which we have yet to feature in this series, so those are fair game as well.

Beyond your name being noted here, my thanks, and some creative juju, hopefully you will learn something about story structure and develop another skill set which is super helpful in learning and practicing the craft.

The latest volunteers:

Beasts of No Nation – Jacob Holmes-Brown
Bridge of Spies – Scott Guinn
Carol – Jillienne Bee
Celeste and Jesse Forever – Ryan Canty
Diary of a Teenage Girl – Cynthia
Ex Machina – Nick Norman-Butler
Frozen – Doc Kane
Inside Out – Katha
Legend – Olivia
Leviathan – Piotr Ryczko
Locke – Megaen Kelly
Macbeth – Trung
Man Up – Kristy Brooks
Monsters University – Liz Correal
Mud – Kevin
Nightcrawler – DJ Summitt
Pawn Sacrifice – Michael Waters
Steve Jobs – Angie Soliman
Straight Outta Compton – Timm Higgins
The End of the Tour – Steve F
The Iron Lady – Leslie
The Way Way Back – The Deuce
Trainwreck – Joni B
Wreck It Ralph – Kenny Crowe

To read examples of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here.

Circling back to where we started, reading scripts is hugely important. Analyzing them even more so. If you want to work in Hollywood as a writer, you need to develop your critical analytical skills. This is one way to do that.

So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation! Make it a commitment to read more scripts in 2016!

GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” — Dialogue

September 28th, 2012 by

This week we are analyzing the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, the 1981 action-adventure movie [screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, story by George Lucas & Philip Kaufman].

You may download a copy of the script [August 1979] here.

Today we discuss the script’s dialogue. An excerpt from this interview with screenwriter Larry Kasdan:

You know, when I was hired to do “Raiders,” I’d only been in the business a couple of weeks. Steven had actually bought “Continental Divide” to produce, and what he really wanted was for me to write “Raiders.” And he introduced me to George, and in 10 minutes George gave me the job — and I found myself working with the two hottest people of my generation. A few weeks later, we were outlining the story, and then I went away for six months and wrote it. It couldn’t have been much more satisfying.

For Day 1 of our analysis focusing on general comments, go here.

For Day 2 of our analysis focusing on structure, go here.

For Day 3 of our analysis focusing on characters, go here.

For Day 4 of our analysis focusing on themes, go here.

A behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Raiders:

If you know of any great behind-the-scenes videos or interviews about Raiders, please post them in comments.

For all of the other screenplays and commentary in the GITS Script Reading & Analysis series, go here.

NOTE: THE USE OF THESE SCREENPLAYS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

See you in comments to discuss themes in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “Juno”

August 27th, 2012 by

Welcome to the GITS Script Reading & Analysis series, Volume 22. This week we will be analyzing the screenplay for the 2007 movie Juno [written by Diablo Cody]. It won an Academy Award and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.

You may download a February 6, 2007 PDF of the script here.

Here is the movie’s trailer:

Some reviews of the film:

Los Angeles Times (Carina Chocano)

National Public Radio (Bob Mondello)

New York Times (A.O. Scott)

Variety (Todd McCarthy)

The BoxOfficeMojo site for the film’s performance in theaters [grossed $231M worldwide].

A fun bit of business with Diablo Cody and Ellen Page about favorite lines of dialogue from the movie:

Let’s use this post today for your general reactions to the script.

Did you enjoy it? What aspects about it made the most impact on you? Would you consider it a ‘good read’? What struck you most about the writing?

Our analysis schedule for this week:

Monday, August 27: General discussion
Tuesday, August 28: Structure
Wednesday, August 29: Characters
Thursday, August 30: Themes
Friday, August 31: Dialogue

Also note we will have a live Tweet-Cast on Wednesday, August 29 at 8PM Pacific. You are invited to get your DVD or Netflix set to play the movie at precisely 8PM, then join professional screenwriters on Twitter for live commentary. This interactive approach to analyzing a movie in real-time is a lot of fun and has led to some great insights into the films we have reviewed. Hashtag: #JUNOTC.

Also if you know of any more interviews or behind-the-scene videos related to the movie, please let me know.

See you in comments to discuss Juno.

For all of the other screenplays and commentary in the GITS Script Reading & Analysis series, go here.

NOTE: THE USE OF THESE SCREENPLAYS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

August GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “Juno”

August 24th, 2012 by

Our script to read and analyze this month is Juno (2007). Screenwriter Diablo Cody won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

You may download a February 6, 2007 PDF of the script here.

Our schedule for discussion:

Monday, August 27: General comments
Tuesday, August 28: Structure
Wednesday, August 29: Characters
Thursday, August 30: Themes
Friday, August 31: Dialogue

We will have another live TweetCast on Wednesday, August 29th at 8PM Pacific. What’s a TweetCast? Everybody lines up a DVD, Netflix, or whatever of the movie, then hits play at precisely the top of the hour. While the movie plays, we comment on it real time on Twitter. Check out the transcripts of some of the past TweetCasts:

(500) Days of Summer

Galaxy Quest

Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

The Social Network

We generally have a group of professional screenwriters participate including Tom Benedek, Scott Frazier, John Gary and myself, and anyone is invited to drop by. It’s a lot of fun, but as you can see from the transcripts, also a great way to break down and analyze a movie. Hashtag: #junotc.

So download Juno and read it this weekend. Remember: Reading scripts is one of the most important single things you can do to enhance your understanding of the craft of screenwriting.

Here is a trailer for the movie:

Also if you source any video or written interviews or behind-the-scenes features about Juno, especially anything focusing on Diablo Cody and the script, please post in comments.

August GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “Juno”

August 10th, 2012 by

Our script to read and analyze this month is Juno (2007). Screenwriter Diablo Cody won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

You may download a February 6, 2007 PDF of the script here.

Our schedule for discussion:

Monday, August 27: General comments
Tuesday, August 28: Structure
Wednesday, August 29: Characters
Thursday, August 30: Themes
Friday, August 31: Dialogue

We will have another live TweetCast on Wednesday, August 29th at 8PM Pacific. What’s a TweetCast? Everybody lines up a DVD, Netflix, or whatever of the movie, then hits play at precisely the top of the hour. While the movie plays, we comment on it real time on Twitter. Check out the transcripts of some of the past TweetCasts:

(500) Days of Summer

Galaxy Quest

Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

The Social Network

We generally have a group of professional screenwriters participate including Tom Benedek, Scott Frazier, John Gary and myself, and anyone is invited to drop by. It’s a lot of fun, but as you can see from the transcripts, also a great way to break down and analyze a movie.

So download Juno and read it. You have 2 weeks to prepare for our analysis. Remember: Reading scripts is one of the most important single things you can do to enhance your understanding of the craft of screenwriting.

Here is a trailer for the movie:

What script should we read and analyze next?

August 3rd, 2012 by

Think concepts. Read scripts. Watch movies. Write pages.

That’s the Über-Mantra around here. If you aren’t actively engaged in all four, you are not doing what you need to do to maximize your chances of succeeding as a screenwriter.

Read scripts. I cannot begin to emphasize how important this is. I dedicated a 7-part series to the subject which you can read here. It’s also why we do a monthly script reading and analysis on GITS.

If that sounds like I’m trying to guilt you into reading scripts… well, I am.

And that’s my official frame to ask what script we should read next.

A few provisos:

* The script has to be readily available for download as a PDF on the web.

* The script has to be a popular or critically acclaimed movie to engender participation.

A few recent suggestions: Pulp Fiction, Drive, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I haven’t checked to see if they are available online, but any of those would be interesting choices. However consider this an open forum to suggest any script you think would fit for this series.

I’ll see you in comments for your ideas.

GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “The Social Network” — Character

July 25th, 2012 by

This week we will be analyzing the screenplay for the 2010 movie The Social Network [screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, book by Ben Mezrich]. It won an Academy Award and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.

You may download the shooting script here. It is 163 pages long.

Here is a scene from the movie:

Today we discuss the script’s characters. Here is a list of the primary ones:

Mark Zuckerberg

Erica Albright

Eduardo Saverin

Cameron Winklevoss / Tyler Winklevoss

Sean Parker

If you think about the characters in terms of the five primary archetypes — Protagonist, Nemesis, Attractor, Nemesis, Trickster — it’s pretty clear which of these characters provides what narrative function.

Thanks to kayhi for this link: A 4-part Making Of documentary of The Social Network hosted by IMDB.

Also note we will have a live Tweet-Cast tonight at 8PM Pacific. You are invited to get your DVD or Netflix set to play the movie at precisely 8PM, then join professional screenwriters Tom Benedek [@TomBenedek], F. Scott Frazier [@ScreenWritten], John Gary [@johngary], and myself on Twitter for live commentary. This interactive approach to analyzing a movie in real-time is a lot of fun and has led to some great insights into the films we have reviewed. Hashtag: #TSOCIALN.

Also if you know of any more interviews or behind-the-scene videos related to the movie, please let me know.

For Day 1 of our analysis, go here.

For Day 2 of our analysis focusing on structure, go here.

See you in comments to discuss The Social Network.

NOTE: THE USE OF THE SCREENPLAY IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY

GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “The Social Network” — Structure

July 24th, 2012 by

This week we will be analyzing the screenplay for the 2010 movie The Social Network[screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, book by Ben Mezrich]. It won an Academy Award and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.

You may download the shooting script here. It is 163 pages long.

Here is a scene from the movie:

Today we discuss the script’s structure. How would you break down the story’s plot? What do you think are the major Plotline points? Did the story sustain narrative drive? How do you think it did that?

Here is a featurette on the making of The Social Network:

Also note we will have a live Tweet-Cast on Wednesday, July 25 at 8PM Pacific. You are invited to get your DVD or Netflix set to play the movie at precisely 8PM, then join professional screenwriters Tom Benedek [@TomBenedek], F. Scott Frazier [@ScreenWritten], John Gary [@johngary], and myself on Twitter for live commentary. This interactive approach to analyzing a movie in real-time is a lot of fun and has led to some great insights into the films we have reviewed. Hashtag: #TSOCIALN.

Also if you know of any more interviews or behind-the-scene videos related to the movie, please let me know.

For For Day 1 of our analysis, go here.

See you in comments to discuss The Social Network.

NOTE: THE USE OF THE SCREENPLAY IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY

Transcript: Live-Tweet Simulcast “Michael Clayton”

March 29th, 2012 by

It came together very quickly arising from a suggestion on Monday by two screenwriters John Gary [@johngary] and Scott Frazier [@ScreenWritten], but by all accounts the live-tweet simulcast last night of the movie Michael Clayton was a success. For those who missed it, go below the fold to access a transcript of the event.

But before you do, I think this is something we should do every month, a great way to break down and analyze movies as well as build up the online screenwriting community. It makes sense to tie the monthly GITS Script Reading & Analysis script with that, don’t you think? And we’ve already had a great suggestion for next month: Galaxy Quest, a terrific sci-fi comedy, really well-written script and a movie filled with great performances. I welcome your thoughts on that in comments.

For the transcript of the Michael Clayton session, continue reading below.

(more…)

GITS Script Reading and Analysis Series: “Michael Clayton”

March 26th, 2012 by

Welcome to Week 17 of the GITS Script Reading & Analysis series. This week we will be analyzing the screenplay for Michael Clayton [written and directed by Tony Gilroy]. The 2007 movie received 7 Academy Award nominations including Best Writing, Original Screenplay, as well as a nomination for the WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay.

You may download a copy of the shooting script here.

A trailer for the movie:

Some reviews of the film:

New York Times [Manohla Dargis]

Variety [Brian Lowry]

The BoxOfficeMojo site for the film’s performance in theaters [grossed $92M worldwide].

An interview with Tony Gilroy in Filmmaker:

Filmmaker: This is a real change of pace and seems like a very conscious attempt to step away from the Bourne style of filmmaking.

Gilroy: This was the temperature that this movie wanted to be at. If I was doing something else, I’d want to reserve the right to be as kinetic as I possibly could be. I’ve written a lot of thrillers and a lot of uncredited stuff, and this was a real opportunity, not as an intellectual exercise but just as an instinctive thing, to write the moments that normally get left out. The traditionally Hollywood storytelling technique, even in a great film, is that the villain is presented fully formed, and at the end has a series of scenes or speeches that really underline a cogent villain’s worldview. But I’m much more concerned in this movie with the creation of the villain, and the moment when people decide to do what they do. There’s a whole bunch of moments and ideas that had got thrown off the truck over the years in these other films that were really interesting to me to find a place where they worked. And they worked on this film.

Let’s use this post today for your general reactions to the script.

Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?

What are the script’s strengths? Are there areas you felt were strengthened in the movie version?

What struck you most about the writing?

What takeaway can we glean from the script as an example of the drama genre?

Our analysis schedule for this week:

Monday, March 26: General Comments

Tuesday, March 27: Structure

Wednesday, March 28: Characters

Thursday, March 29: Themes

Friday, March 30: Dialogue

See you in comments!

NOTE: This series is for educational purposes only!

For previous analyses of scripts in this series, go here.