Thursday, November 4, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: #28 WGA Script of All Time - Shakespeare in Love (1998)

[Quick Summary: Will Shakespeare needs a muse. He finds it in Viola, but she is to marry another.  Through their love affair, Shakespeare is able to write again.]

This script should be wrapped in brown paper w/ a stern warning that says "Not For Amateurs."

It is a historical (usually an automatic "no").

It is an ensemble with umpteen characters, including historical characters (tough to give everyone screen time).

It's dense. Very dense. (not just b/c it's 129 pages; It is black print dense w/exposition, a lot of detail.)

It's got multiple plot lines (not for the faint of heart).

The action parallels Shakespeare's play (are you really going to go there? REALLY?)

For those reasons, it could've gone very wrong...but the writer turned out a technically difficult, well structured script.  It deserved all the accolades for completing such an extraordinary feat. 

All that being said, I liked the script but didn't love it.  I empathized with Will, but didn't ache for him.

(It's probably just a matter of taste.)

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: When attempting to reinvent history, it's best to keep the main story strong & simple.  Here, a man finds his muse, & love, thus, he's able to truly write from the heart again.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

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