Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #81 WGA Script of All Time - Being There (1979)

[Quick Summary: A simple gardener is oblivious when his simple words about gardening are misinterpreted as financial advice, and he becomes overnight sensation in Washington, D.C.]

I was going to wax eloquent about the use of misinterpretation in this script (it's at a genius level).

But if you're a serious comedy writer, you'll study the script yourself.

I want to talk about economy of the writing.  It's also stellar. 

Watch closely:


The President & First Lady are very attentive.....

BURNS (on TV): Do you feel that we have a 'very good gardener' in office at this time, Mr. Gardiner?

PRESIDENT: ....That bastard...

What did the writers leave out? 

- They didn't need to explain the couple is watching tv.
- They didn't need to include direction like INTERCUT BETWEEN TV AND ROOM (it's self-explanatory).
- They didn't need a reaction shot.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: You can always tell when writers know what they're doing.  It's always "less is more".

Being There (1979)
by Jerzy Kosinski & Robert C. Jones
(From the novel by Jerzy Kosinski)

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