Thursday, December 15, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #49 WGA Script of All Time - Schindler's List (1993)

[Quick Summary: Businessman Oscar Schindler easily bargains/bribes/bullies to keep his factory open, but he is unprepared by the effect his Jewish workers have on him.]

I've seen lots of ensemble spec scripts.  They usually aren't very pretty for one of 3 reasons:

1) Too sprawling
2) Too many characters to juggle in my head
3) Too many subplots fighting to be the main plot

So I was glad to read Schindler's List & see an ensemble script done right.  Here's why:

1) Though the enormity of the Holocaust is the backdrop, it's really an intimate story about ONE man.

2) All characters are there to support the ONE man, Schindler. 

Even if Schindler is not in the scene, the characters' actions will somehow affect or tie into Schindler.

3) All the subplots are there to support Schindler. 

ex. The Nazis have their own agendas, but their purpose in this story is to provide obstacles for SCHINDLER. A woman may want to get her parents moved to the factory, but her purpose in this story is to provoke SCHINDLER into action.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Frankly, ensemble scripts are easier to follow if there's ONE main character to form the spine around.

Schindler's List (1993)
by Steve Zaillian

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