Thursday, August 25, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #66 WGA Script of All Time - Jerry Maguire (1996)

[Quick Summary: When a dissatisfied sports agent tries to take a higher road, he is fired & must start over with only one client.]

I'm ornery. 

When people said, "You have to read 'Jerry Maguire'!", I didn't want to.

So I'll understand if you don't want to read it either. 

But if you ever want to see great pacing & character set up, read the first 10 pages of this script.

The pacing is brisk, yet we see a completely character based snapshot of Jerry & his problems.

p.1 - In a montage, we see Jerry's sports clients. [A-ha! Jerry is a sports agent.]
p. 2 - Jerry is hard at work negotiating for a NFL client.  [He excels at his job.]
p. 3 - Jerry competes at the office with his fellow agents.  [This is a story about good guy vs. bad guys.]
p. 4 - We see Jerry losing heart because sports is now more about money. [Jerry is a decent guy.]
p. 5 -  Jerry is even more disillusioned when a severely injured client insists on playing because of a bonus.  [Our hero will face questionable decisions.]
p. 6 - Jerry writes his Manifesto & reclaims some honor.  [We're hopeful!]
p. 7 - The Manifesto gives Jerry hope.  [More hope!]
p. 8 - His fellow agents read the Manifesto & applaud him.  [Uh-oh...niggling doubts.]
p. 9 - We meet Dorothy, who is Jerry's guardian angel & antagonist.  [Hope again!]
p. 10 - Jerry confides in a fellow passenger about his shaky love life.  [This is not good.]

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  Great pacing = My eyes never slowed down or backtracked.

Why? Because the character & his conflicts were clear and were revealed on a rolling basis.

Jerry Maguire (1996)
by Cameron Crowe

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