Classic 80s Movie: “Ghostbusters”

December 14th, 2013 by

Today’s Classic 80s Movie guest post comes from Dean Scott.

Movie Title: Ghostbusters

Year: 1984

Writers: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis (uncredited)

Lead Actors: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis.

Director: Ivan Reitman

Plot Summary: Three unemployed parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Why I Think This Is A Classic 80s Movies: Whenever I think of 80s films the first that come to mind are the decades comedies – and at the top of the list, for me at least, is Ghostbusters. It is a film that has stood the test of time and has become a cult classic having spawned a sequel, video games, animated TV series, comic books, music albums, and HOPEFULLY a forthcoming sequel. Appearing at number 28 on the ‘AFI’s 100 years… 100 laughs’ list, Ghostbusters is a high concept film that can be summed up in the magic three words; guys hunting ghosts. Also starring some of the greatest comedy actors of the era in arguably their greatest comedy roles, an overview of 80s movies wouldn’t be complete without Ghostbusters.

My Favorite Moment In The Movie: The boys first meeting with the paranormal -

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie: The film is full of great dialogue – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx73vTi5aFo However, Bill Murry’s witty lines are one of the things I love most about Ghostbusters -

Dana Barrett: That’s the bedroom, but nothing ever happened in there.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What a crime.

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This M­ovie: As the stars of the film are comedians in their own right, from a screenwriting perspective it is useful to watch Ghostbusters along with reading the script to study how the dialogue changed from script to screen. Other than that, Ghostbusters is a great film to study for character, structure, and of course great comedy writing.

Thanks, Dean! To show our gratitude for your guest post, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!

Tomorrow: Another Classic 80s Movie!

I’m still looking for people to write guest posts in this series. Please email me with the movie you’d like to cover. Here is a template you should use:

Movie Title

Year

Writers (both screenwriters and any authors whose books were used as the basis for adaptation)

Lead Actors (Just the main ones)

Director

IMDB Plot Summary (You can find that directly under the Your Rating box. If you don’t feel the summary does the story justice, feel free to write up a logline of your own.)

Why I Think This Is A Classic 80s Movies (Feel free to write as much as you’d like up to a half-page or so.)

My Favorite Moment In The Movie

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie (IMDB has a Quotes section for almost every movie, so you can find key dialogue in your movie’s site.)

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie

Please use this exact template to help me in the editing process.

If you can find a YouTube clip from the film or its trailer, include that URL.

When you are done with your guest post, you may simply copy and paste the content into an email to me.

I will run the posts in the order I receive them.

And if you emailed me about doing a specific movie, but haven’t sent in your guest post, now’s the time!

Thanks, everyone!

Script To Screen: “Ghostbusters”

August 7th, 2013 by

From the 1984 movie Ghostbusters [written by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis], the Final Struggle.

Setup: Gozer commands the three Ghostbusters to choose their form of destruction and despite trying to keep their minds blank, Stantz has a brain fart, resulting in this:

They all turn and look to the south.

GHOSTBUSTERS POV

Looking south past Columbus Circle, they see part of something big and
white moving between the buildings accompanied by thunderous footsteps of
almost seismic proportions.

VENKMAN

He doesn't know what it is yet, but he knows it's coming.

				     VENKMAN
				(desperately)
			What is it?  Ray, what did you think of?

BROADWAY AND 55TH

The massive white shape passes behind some buildings, offering a glimpse
of what appears to be a fat, white arm.

STANTZ

He's about to go into shock.

				     STANTZ
				(babbling)
			It can't be!  It can't be!

COLUMBUS CIRCLE

The thundering footsteps continue to plod as the thing starts to emerge
from behind the buildings.  Now we can see part of a blue garment covering
its enormous chest.

STANTZ

He recognizes the monster.

				    STANTZ
			It's ... It's ... It's the STAY-PUFT
			MARSHMALLOW MAN.

Winston, Venkman and Spengler gape.

THEIR POV

They look across the roof tops and see a large, square, white, bobbing,
laughing head atop a massive body of similar puffed white squares.  The
being is dressed in a tiny sailor's hat, red bosun's whistle and lanyard
and a little blue vest with a button undone in the middle revealing a
little white belly. It is the cute, quintessential American brand symbol,
looming as large as Godzilla.

				     STANTZ (V.O.)
				(desperately apologizing)
			I tried to think of the most harmless thing
			... something that could never destroy us
			... something I loved from my childhood.

THE GHOSTBUSTERS

They watch the Marshmallow Man plodding toward them.

				     VENKMAN
			AND YOU CAME UP WITH THAT?

				     STANTZ
			The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!  He was on
			all the packages we used to buy when I was
			a kid.  We used to roast Stay-Puft
			marshmallows at Camp Waconda!

				     VENKMAN
			Great!  The marshmallows are about to get
			their revenge.

THE STAY-PUFT MAN

He plods relentlessly uptown toward the Ghostbusters' rooftop vantage
point.  The ground rumbles as his big, soft feet come down on the
pavement.

THE STREET

People are fleeing in panic as the marshmallow feet pad along kicking over
lampposts and mail boxes.

A CAR

The driver jumps out just before an enormous white marshmallow foot comes
down and flattens his automobile.

THE GHOSTBUSTERS

They stand there helplessly watching the laughing bobbing head of the
Stay-Puft Man as he comes toward them.

				     VENKMAN
			What now?

				     SPENGLER
				(adjusting his thrower)
			Full-stream with strogon pulse.

Venkman looks at Stantz.  Stantz shrugs.

				     VENKMAN
				(decides)
			I guess that's all we've got.

They step to the edge of the roof, moving like warriors now ready to face
the consequences.

Here is the scene from the movie:

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 scene from Ghostbusters?

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.

[Originally posted March 7, 2012]

Script To Screen: “Ghostbusters”

March 7th, 2012 by

From the 1984 movie Ghostbusters [written by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis], the Final Struggle.

Setup: Gozer commands the three Ghostbusters to choose their form of destruction and despite trying to keep their minds blank, Stantz has a brain fart, resulting in this:

They all turn and look to the south.

GHOSTBUSTERS POV

Looking south past Columbus Circle, they see part of something big and
white moving between the buildings accompanied by thunderous footsteps of
almost seismic proportions.

VENKMAN

He doesn't know what it is yet, but he knows it's coming.

				     VENKMAN
				(desperately)
			What is it?  Ray, what did you think of?

BROADWAY AND 55TH

The massive white shape passes behind some buildings, offering a glimpse
of what appears to be a fat, white arm.

STANTZ

He's about to go into shock.

				     STANTZ
				(babbling)
			It can't be!  It can't be!

COLUMBUS CIRCLE

The thundering footsteps continue to plod as the thing starts to emerge
from behind the buildings.  Now we can see part of a blue garment covering
its enormous chest.

STANTZ

He recognizes the monster.

				    STANTZ
			It's ... It's ... It's the STAY-PUFT
			MARSHMALLOW MAN.

Winston, Venkman and Spengler gape.

THEIR POV

They look across the roof tops and see a large, square, white, bobbing,
laughing head atop a massive body of similar puffed white squares.  The
being is dressed in a tiny sailor's hat, red bosun's whistle and lanyard
and a little blue vest with a button undone in the middle revealing a
little white belly. It is the cute, quintessential American brand symbol,
looming as large as Godzilla.

				     STANTZ (V.O.)
				(desperately apologizing)
			I tried to think of the most harmless thing
			... something that could never destroy us
			... something I loved from my childhood.

THE GHOSTBUSTERS

They watch the Marshmallow Man plodding toward them.

				     VENKMAN
			AND YOU CAME UP WITH THAT?

				     STANTZ
			The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!  He was on
			all the packages we used to buy when I was
			a kid.  We used to roast Stay-Puft
			marshmallows at Camp Waconda!

				     VENKMAN
			Great!  The marshmallows are about to get
			their revenge.

THE STAY-PUFT MAN

He plods relentlessly uptown toward the Ghostbusters' rooftop vantage
point.  The ground rumbles as his big, soft feet come down on the
pavement.

THE STREET

People are fleeing in panic as the marshmallow feet pad along kicking over
lampposts and mail boxes.

A CAR

The driver jumps out just before an enormous white marshmallow foot comes
down and flattens his automobile.

THE GHOSTBUSTERS

They stand there helplessly watching the laughing bobbing head of the
Stay-Puft Man as he comes toward them.

				     VENKMAN
			What now?

				     SPENGLER
				(adjusting his thrower)
			Full-stream with strogon pulse.

Venkman looks at Stantz.  Stantz shrugs.

				     VENKMAN
				(decides)
			I guess that's all we've got.

They step to the edge of the roof, moving like warriors now ready to face
the consequences.

Here is the scene from the movie:

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 scene from Ghostbusters?

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.