Script Analysis: “The Good Dinosaur” — Part 4: Themes

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
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Themes.

I have this theory about theme. In two parts. First, a principle: Theme = Meaning. What does the story mean? Second, while there is almost always a Central Theme, there are multiple other Sub-Themes at play in a story. Therefore the question, What does a story mean takes on several layers of meaning?

Time to ponder themes in The Good Dinosaur. You may download a PDF of the script here.

Screenplay by Meg LeFauve, story by Peter Sohn & Erik Benson & Meg LeFauve & Kelsey Mann & Bob Peterson, original concept and development by Bob Peterson, additional screenplay material by Peter Hedges & Adrian Molina.

IMDb plot summary: In a world where dinosaurs and humans live side-by-side, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.

Writing Exercise: Explore the themes in The Incredibles. What is its Central Theme? What are some of the related Sub-Themes?

Major kudos to Rhidian Pentz 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 analysis, go here.

Tomorrow we shift our focus to the script’s dialogue.

If you have a favorite movie script you’d like to break down scene-by-scene and contribute to our archive, as well as provide the foundation for a week’s worth of discussion and analysis, email me with your suggestion.

Note: The script has to be available online somewhere.

To see the archive 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!

I hope to see you in comments about this week’s script: The Good Dinosaur.

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