Daily Dialogue — April 21, 2013

April 21st, 2013 by

INT. CHAMPIONSHIP VINYL – DAY

Rob sits there, reflecting.

LOUIS (O.S.): Rob, it’s your turn!
ROB: Ok, I’m feeling kind of basic today. Top five Side 1’s. Track 1’s. “Janie Jones,” Clash. From The Clash.

Rob STANDS, AMBLES towards the counter. Barry and Louis sort through records on display.

BARRY: Eh.
ROB: “Let’s Get it On,” Marvin Gaye from Let’s Get it On… Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off of Nevermind.
BARRY: Oh Rob, that’s not obvious enough. Not at all. How about “Point of No Return” on Point of No Return?

Barry and Louis chuckle.

ROB: Shut up. “White Light-White Heat,” Velvet Underground.
LOUIS: Ok, that would be on my list.
BARRY: Though not on mine.
ROB: And Massive Attack, No Protection. The song is “Radiation Ruling the Nation.”
BARRY: Oh, kind of a new record. Very-

A Customer SLINKS in.

CUSTOMER: Excuse me, do you still have-
BARRY: (to Customer) In a minute. (to Rob) Very nice, Rob. A sly declaration of new classic status slipped into a list of old safe ones. Very PUSSY!
CUSTOMER: Excuse me, do you still have-
BARRY: (to Customer) In a minute! (to Rob) Couldn’t you be more obvious than that, Rob? How about uh, I don’t know, The Beatles? How about fucking, fucking Beethoven? Track 1 Side 1 of the Fifth Symphony! How can someone who has no interest in music own a record store?
CUSTOMER: Hey, do you still have that Beefheart French import, “Safe as Milk”?

Barry paces towards the counter. Customer follows.

BARRY: Let’s see…

Barry bends behind the counter.

BARRY: Ah, yes. Here it is.

Barry hands it over. The Customer SNATCHES it, CARESSES it, even BLOWS on it.

CUSTOMER: How much you want for it?

Barry gestures for it back. Customer abides.

BARRY: Oh, no. You know what? I don’t think I’m selling it this week. Maybe next week.
CUSTOMER: Oh no, you said that last week!
BARRY: Did I? Yeah, well I just…

Barry shrugs with indifference. Customer storms away. Louis approaches.

LOUIS: Hey, I don’t have that record. I’ll buy it for forty.
BARRY: Rob?
ROB: Sold.

Rob passes the record from Barry to Louis.

LOUIS: Now why would you sell it to me and not to him?
BARRY: Because you’re not a geek, Louis.
LOUIS: You guys are snobs.

High Fidelity (2000), screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg, based on a novel by Nick Hornby

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is fan boy/girl conversations, suggeted by plinytheelder. Today’s suggestion by rgiamatteo.

Trivia: Touchstone acquired the rights to Nick Hornby’s book for $500,000 with Mike Newell attached to direct.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by rgiamatteo: “This scene immediately follows one in which Rob accuses Laura of becoming someone who she isn’t, which she admits insofar as she’s undergone personal growth. Rob, on the other hand, and to use Laura’s words, “hasn’t changed as much of a pair of socks” since she first met him. Rob’s music list perfectly demonstrates the fear behind why that is. He rattles off “obvious” classics that critics have praised for decades, strengthening the limb upon which he climbs out on to endorse newer talent. He couches his open-mindedness in age-old plaudits of bygone eras. Some might call this sly, others cowardly. Barry, in so many words, says it’s both.”

Script To Screen: “High Fidelity”

April 3rd, 2013 by

The delightful 2000 comedy High Fidelity, screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack and
Scott Rosenberg, novel by Nick Hornby.

Setup: Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

FADE IN:

INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

STEREO

Not a minisystem, not a matching set, but coveted audiophile
clutter of McIntosh and Nakamichi, each component from a
different era, bought piece by piece in various nanoseconds
of being flush.

                         ROB (V.O.)
            What came first?  The music or the
            misery?  People worry about kids
            playing with guns and watching
            violent videos, we're scared that
            some sort of culture of violence is
            taking them over...

RECORDS

Big thin LPs.  Fields of them.  We move across them, slowly...
they seem to come to rest in an end of a few books... but
then the CD's start, and go on, faster and faster, forever
then the singles, then the tapes...

                         ROB (V.O.)(CONT'D)
            But nobody worries about kids
            listening to thousands -- literally
            thousands -- of songs about broken
            hearts and rejection and pain and
            misery and loss.

It seems the records, tapes, and CD's will never end until...
we come to ROB -- always a hair out of place, a face that
grows on you.  He sits in an oversized beanbag chair and
addresses us, the wall of music behind him.

                         ROB
            Did I listen to pop music because I
            was miserable, or was I miserable
            because I listened to pop music?

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

A group of bags huddled next to the door.  Not the go-on-
vacation set, but the clothes-to-coffee-maker moving out
variety.  Rob stares at them, his face unreadable, his head
gripped by a big pair Boudokan headphones.  We hear what he
is hearing, something foreboding and upbeat at the same time.

LAURA, Rob's girlfriend, enters the room, and he immediately
pulls the headphones off.  She clocks him for a moment, catching
him in what seems to be an old and repeated moment of
nonpresence.  She begins to heft the bags, Rob goes to her, a
little tardy for his big goodbye.  Laura begins to cry a bit.

                         LAURA
            I don't really know what I'm doing.

He smiles, and she doesn't.  He adjusts.

                         ROB
            You don't have to go this second.
            You can stay until whenever.

                         LAURA
            We've done the hard part now.  I
            might as well, you know...

                         ROB
            Well stay for tonight, then.

Laura shakes her head, lifts the last small bag, and backs
out the door.  A strap catches on a handle and the two of
them wrestle with it a bit, while trying to keep the door
open, until Laura awkwardly disappears from view and the
door shuts behind Rob.  He stays right there staring at the
shut door for a long moment, listening to the fading sound
of Laura and her dragging bags.

STEREO

Rob's left hand cranks the volume knob while his right
switches the CD changer to something loud and adrenal.  He
addresses us again.

                         ROB
            My desert-island, all-time, top
            five most memorable break-ups, in
            chronological order are as follows:
            Alison Ashworth, Penny Hardwick,
            Jackie Allen, Charlie Nicholson,
            Sarah Kendrew.

INT. APARTMENT STAIRWELL

Laura drags her bags, banging down the stairs --

INT. ROB'S APARTMENT

Rob moves around the apartment, seeming to expand physically,
looking for change as he continues.

                         ROB
            Those were the ones that really
            hurt.  Can you see your name in
            that list, Laura?  Maybe you'd
            sneak into the top ten, but there's
            no place for you in the top five.
            Sorry.  Those places are reserved
            for the kind of humiliations and
            heartbreaks that you're just not
            capable of delivering.

He adjusts the angle of the TV, stuffs a creepy family
portrait into a drawer.

                         ROB (CONT'D)
            That probably sounds crueler than
            it's meant to, but the fact is,
            we're too old to take each other
            miserable.  Unhappiness used to
            mean something.  Now it's just a
            drag like a cold or having no money.

He moves through the living room to an open window facing
the street.  Looking down two stories, he sees Laura emerge
from the building and drag her bags toward her car across
the street.

                         ROB (CONT'D)
            If you really wanted to mess me up,
            you should have got to me earlier.

                                            CUT TO:

Here is the scene from the movie:

What do you notice about the translation of scene from script to screen?

See you in comments to discuss this scene in High Fidelity.

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.

Daily Dialogue — March 4, 2013

March 4th, 2013 by

“My desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable breakups, in chronological order, are as follows: Alison Ashmore; Penny Hardwick; Jackie Alden; Charlie Nicholson; and Sarah Kendrew. Those were the ones that really hurt. Can you see your name on that list, Laura? Maybe you’d sneak into the top ten. But there’s just no room for you in the top five, sorry. Those places are reserved for the kind of humiliation and heartbreak you’re just not capable of delivering.”

High Fidelity (2000), screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg, based on a novel by Nick Hornby

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is breakup, courtesy of a suggestion by Liri Nàvon. Today’s suggestion by churnage.

Trivia: Touchstone acquired the rights to Nick Hornby’s book for $500,000 with Mike Newell attached to direct.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary from Churnage: “Rob break ups with his current live-in girlfriend Laura and then tries to rationalize the whole thing (and his behavior), but comparing her to his ex-girlfriends going back to middle school. But as he revisits each of these relationships, he realizes not one of these girlfriends can hold a candle to Laura. Just some great passive-aggressive behavior exhibited by Rob to minimize the relationship and the pain he now feels.”

Daily Dialogue — November 22, 2012

November 22nd, 2012 by

“Top five things I miss about Laura. One: sense of humor. Very dry, but it can also be warm and forgiving. And she’s got one of the best all time laughs in the history of all time laughs, she laughs with her entire body. Two: she’s got character. Or at least she had character before the Ian nightmare. She’s loyal and honest, and she doesn’t even take it out on people when she’s having a bad day. That’s character. [holds up three fingers] Three: [long pause, hesitantly] I miss her smell, and the way she tastes. It’s a mystery of human chemistry and I don’t understand it, some people, as far as their senses are concerned, just feel like home. [shakes his head, recollecting, then looks back and lip synchs 'four' while holds up four fingers] I really dig how she walks around. It’s like she doesn’t care how she looks or what she projects and it’s not that she doesn’t care it’s just… she’s not affected I guess, and that gives her grace. And five: she does this thing in bed when she can’t get to sleep, she kinda half moans and then rubs her feet together an equal number of times… it just kills me. Believe me, I mean, I could do a top five things about her that drive me crazy but it’s just your garden variety women you know, schizo stuff and that’s the kind of thing that got me here.”

– Rob Gordon (John Cusack), High Fidelity (2000), screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg, based on the book by Nick Hornby

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall, suggested by Shaula Evans. Today’s suggestion by Teddy Pasternak.

Trivia: Touchstone acquired the rights to Nick Hornby’s book for $500,000 with Mike Newell attached to direct.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary from Teddy: “Here’s a clever way of making the audience connect with the main character: turning what would traditionally have been a voice-over into on-screen narration.”