Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:
Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Screenplay by Donald Margulies, book by David Lipsky.
IMDb plot summary: The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’
Some questions to consider in relation to dialogue in The End of the Tour:
* What do you consider to be the most memorable lines… and why?
* Any notable callbacks (a line used once, then used again later in a different context)?
* How about set-up & payoffs?
* Any exposition that caught your eye for being handled exceptionally well?
Head to comments and let me know what dialogue in the script made the most impact on you.
Major kudos to Steve Fabian for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown.
For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.
For Part 2, to read Plot analysis, go here.
For Part 3, to read Characters, go here.
For Part 4, to read Themes, go here.
To download a PDF of the breakdown, go here.
To read my 2015 interview with screenwriter Donald Margulies, go here.
Tomorrow we shift our focus to the script’s key characters.
I am looking for volunteers to read a script and provide a scene-by-scene breakdown for it to be used as part of our weekly series. What do you get? 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:
12 Years a Slave – Georgevine Moss
Beasts of No Nation – Jacob Holmes-Brown
Big Eyes – Rachel Sheridan
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
Gone Girl – Ashley Lara
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 Summit
Pawn Sacrifice – Michael Waters
Steve Jobs – Angie Soliman
Straight Outta Compton – Timm Higgins
The End of the Tour – Steve Fabian
The Iron Lady – Leslie
The Way Way Back – The Deuce
Trainwreck – Joni Brainerd
Wreck It Ralph – Kenny Crowe
To see examples of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here. Part of the goal is to create a library of breakdowns for writers to have at their disposal for research and learning.
You may see the scripts we can use for the series – free and legal – by going here.
To date, we have analyzed 54 movie scripts, a great resource for screenwriters. To see those analyses, go here.
Thanks to any of you who will rise to the occasion and take on a scene-by-scene breakdown.
And for those of you who have volunteered, please send me your scene-by-scene breakdown as soon as possible!
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!
I hope to see you in comments about this week’s script: The End of the Tour.