Friday, May 6, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #83 WGA Script of All Time - Rear Window (1954)

[Quick Summary: A recuperating photographer is suspicious of a neighbor whose wife has conveniently "gone on vacation."]

Bad news: This is a loooong, dense 160 pg. script.  (Yeah, yeah, I know this is typical of Hitchcock scripts.)

Good news: It does transitions well.

(This is something that only serious writers study. Everyone else thinks transitions "just happen.")

ex. Jeff & Lisa argue.  Jeff can't convince her that the salesman/neighbor in the far building is sinister. 
Finally Jeff begins to concede maybe he's imagining things & makes a joke to Lisa. He waits for her response.

HERE'S THE TRANSITION: The script gives a VISUAL response instead of a verbal one. We see:

-  Lisa in shock
-  Lisa looking at the far building where the salesman is packing a big trunk to leave
-  Lisa changed by what she sees (We know she believes Jeff now)

Then she turns to Jeff & asks: "Tell me everything..."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This is a great transition because it does several things at once:

1) It shows us how Lisa changed her mind AND
2) It shows us the salesman is moving fast to leave (ticking clock) AND
3) It shows us via visuals (instead of dialogue) that Lisa is committed to the cause

Not bad, eh?

Rear Window (1954)
by John Michael Hayes

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