Monday, December 5, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #50 WGA Script of All Time - The Sixth Sense (1999)

[Quick Summary: A child psychologist tries to help a child who sees dead people (but doesn't know they're dead).]

When The Sixth Sense came out, I avoided it like the plague.

I don't like scary stuff, or reading scary stuff, or watching scary stuff.

But this script is on the official WGA list, so I read it.

Now I can confidently say that if you haven't read this script, you should for 2 reasons:

1) The reading is wonderfully vertical (thus the reading speed is very fast).

2) Everyone thinks the big reveal at the end makes this script special. But I've broken down and rebuilt enough stories to know that Shyamalan's skill is really shown in how he constructs the setup. 

ex. Throughout the script, Anna avoids speaking to Malcolm in realistic ways:

- He thinks she's speaking to him, but she's actually speaking on the phone.
- She laughs with someone, and he turns away, hurt that she's not laughing with him. 

We think she's mad at him (setup), only to find out later she isn't (reveal).

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I like that this script is devoid of "Look at me! See how clever I am!" tricks and gimmicks. 

Instead, there are solid story building blocks put together in a clever way.

The Sixth Sense (1999)
by M. Night Shyamalan

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