Posts tagged ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

June 13, 2011

Script: 7 Scripts Every Writer Should Read

myPDFscripts posted this list of seven scripts that David Lemon, a freshly produced scribe, suggests every writer read. As an added bonus, myPDFscripts included a link to most of the seven scripts which you can download for free off of their website. Take a look:

1. The Apartment

For me, this is just one of the most touching and beautifully structured scripts ever written. It’s about the loneliness of the big city, the misogyny, putting career before love and a clock puncher finally becoming a ‘mensch’. It’s also a masterclass in dramatic irony and has the second best final line in film history (the number one being ‘Some Like it Hot’).

While I pray it never gets re-made, it could be as its themes are as fresh now as they were then. ‘Genius’ is an overused term but on this film Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond had it in spades.

2. Little Miss Sunshine

A film I really loved and which really leaps off the page. It’s also inspiring to first time feature writers as Michael Arndt’s CV prior to the film is pretty thin. Now he’s writing ‘Toy Story 3′.

The opening is a brilliant example of setting up a lot of characters with great economy. There’s hardly any dialogue, but five minutes in we already know a lot about this family and their wants and needs.

Like ‘The Apartment’, it’s also a film about something; in this case the American obsession with being a ‘winner’. Paul Dano’s sullen (and largely mute) teenage son even gives a speech just before Olive’s climactic dance in which he tells his uncle (and us) how meaningless other people’s labels of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ really are. Also worth checking out as the ending in the finished film is ever so slightly different.

3. Back to the Future

A script that’s assembled with Swiss watch precision. There isn’t a single thing that’s set up that isn’t paid off later. It’s also worth comparing with a 1980 draft that’s also floating about on the ‘net.

The essential story- kid goes back in time, has to play matchmaker to his parents- is the same but so much of it feels convoluted and just plain wrong. It makes you realise that films aren’t so much written as re-written. It’s one of the few films I remember with nostalgic affection that’s even better than I remembered it.

4. Aliens

I know- not ‘Alien’? What gives? While I think ‘Alien’ remains a high benchmark for sci-fi horror, there’s just something so compelling about the way James Cameron writes hard-boiled action.

Brilliantly paced, spare dialogue, memorable characters- what more could you possibly want?

5. The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan’s recent output may have been, ahem, patchy (have you seen ‘The Lady in the Water’ and ‘The Happening’?) but this really is a terrific script that gives you chills as you read it.

It’s very spare, but every word is well chosen.

6. Sling Blade

Oddly enough, I read this years before seeing the actual film. Both are terrific but on the page, the script really grips you, and the underlying tension of waiting for Billy Bob Thornton’s profoundly disturbed child-man to show his dark side really drives it.

Even on the page your mind’s eye is drawn to him even when he doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

7. Slumdog Millionaire

Really exciting to see how this great film looks on the page. Although based on an acclaimed novel, it was screenwriter Simon Beaufoy who came up with the love story which gave his hero a much stronger drive; after all, do you want to see someone succeed because they want to be rich, or because they want to be re-united with the one they love?

It also gave a sense of unity to what could have been a series of interesting but slightly disconnected incidents; great and charming in a book; not so much on screen.

It also manages to incorporate suspense and some pretty traumatic stuff into what critics labelled ‘The Feel-Good Hit of the Year’. While it does leave you on a high, the story takes you to some pretty dark places…

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