Wednesday, April 4, 2012

TODAY'S NUGGET: #32 WGA Script of All Time - Fargo (1996)

[Quick Summary: When a car salesman schemes to have his wife kidnapped from their small town, it all goes wrong.]

A Coen brothers trademark is not to use "EXT./INT." in the slug lines.

So how do they make sure that the reader is clear about changes in location? It's all in the transitions:

1) The narrative and dialogue work together to show us where we are.

ex. "MINNEAPOLIS SUBURBAN HOUSE

Jerry enters through the kitchen door....He is carrying a bag of groceries which he deposits on the kitchen counter. [Where are we? Whose house is this?]

JERRY: Hon? Got the growshries. [Ah-ha! We know we're in his house because a person would only use that kind of familiar language if he were in his own house.]"

2) Scene A ends and we SEE in Scene B that we have changed locations.

ex. Scene A - Over dinner at Jerry's house, Jerry asks his father-in-law Wade for a loan.

Scene B - "WHITE. A black like curls through the white. Twisting perspective shows that it is an AERIAL SHOT of a two-lane highway, bordered by snowfields. The highway carries one moving car."

The narrative of Scene B leads the reader into the outdoors with key words such as "aerial shot," "highway," and "snow."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I've depended too much on slug lines to change locales. Gotta orient the reader more with the narrative.

Fargo (1996)
by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

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