Sunday, November 14, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: #17 WGA Script of All Time - Tootsie (1982)

[Quick Summary: Michael Dorsey is an actor who can't get a job as a man.  He dresses as "Dorothy", becomes a tv soap sensation, falls in love with Julie, a co-worker.]

To me, this script stood out because it does "hidden in plain sight" extremely well.

The tension isn't so much about the "hidden" as what is happening "in plain sight." 

There's complex subtext as two people often experience the same situation in two different conflicting ways. 

ex.  Julie bares her soul to Dorothy, her friend.  Michael/Dorothy is frustrated because he sees her as a love interest. Although they are sharing the same intimate moment, they aren't connecting as Julie & Michael. 

Scenes like this ratchet up the tension & push Michael toward the climax where he must make a decision: keep the job or confess to the girl.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This tension is sophisticated. 

It stems from Michael getting what he wants (fame), but not not getting what he really wants (Julie).  His arc really is the struggle to choose between the two.

Tootsie (1982)
by Larry Gelbart

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