Posts tagged ‘WGA’

December 9, 2011

101 Greatest Screenplays Ever Written

The Writers Guild of America published this list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays Ever Written. Many of these screenplays are available on this site and others. I personally would like to read each and every one of these scripts, so I’ll do my best to make each of these scripts available on LA Screenwriter.

According to the WGA, the top ten scripts of all time are:

10. The Godfather: Part II

9. Some Like it Hot

8. Network

7. Sunset Boulevard

6. Annie Hall

5. All About Eve

4. Citizen Kane

3. Chinatown

2. The Godfather

1. Casablanca

May 10, 2011

An Interview with Frank Pierson, Scribe of Cool Hand Luke

This great interview from the WGAW gets into the mind of screenwriter Frank Pierson, the writer of such greats as Dog Day Afternoon, A Star is Born, and Cool Hand Luke:

Many of you know Frank Pierson’s work as former President of the WGAW or his stint as the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Others of you may know of his remarkable writing resume, starting in the ‘50s with television shows such as Have Gun – Will Travel and Playhouse 90, followed by five decades of films like Cat Ballou (Screenplay by Walter Newman and Frank R. Pierson), Dog Day Afternoon (Screenplay by Frank Pierson), A Star Is Born (Screenplay by Joan Didion & John Gregory Dunne and Frank Pierson), In Country (Screenplay by Frank Pierson and Cynthia Cidre), and Presumed Innocent (Screenplay by Frank Pierson and Alan J. Pakula).

But odds are, all of you know the famous line he came up with while writing 1967’s Cool Hand Luke (Screenplay by Donn Pearce and Frank Pierson):

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”  

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April 19, 2011

Know the Rules, Then Bend Them: Ben Ripley on Source Code

This great interview from the WGA talks with Ben Ripley about the writing of Source Code. Ben wrote the script on spec and had to complete a few full rewrites before getting to the structure you see on screen:

When Ben Ripley first came up with the idea for Source Code, in which government operative Colter Stevens repeatedly relives the eight minutes leading up to a terrorist train bombing in hopes of finding the bomber, he had no intention of writing it on spec. Having established himself in Hollywood largely doing “studio rewrites on horror movies,” he felt a solid pitch would do the trick. Unfortunately, it didn’t. “I sat down with a few producers, and the first couple just looked at me like I was nuts,” confesses Ripley. “Ultimately, I had to put it on the page to make my case.”

So he wrote it on his own dime and, given the idea of a parallel universe-bending time traveler was already pretty esoteric, he played it safe with the structure, churning out a standard Syd Field-style script. As the writer puts it: “It was very plodding and things happened in a completely comprehensible way.”

And how’d that work out? “It was underwhelming. We thrashed around with rewriting that, and it was still underwhelming.”

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