Monday, December 9, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: The Big Chill (1983) - Keep It Simple & Specific

[Quick Summary: A group of college buddies gather for the funeral of one of their own.]

I felt deeply when I read this script.

First, it's an amazing ensemble piece that juggles seven protagonists/antagonists.

Second, every story line felt so realistic and honest.

ex. "HAROLD: I want you to sit with Chloe.
MICHAEL: Okay.
HAROLD: I've got to be up there, and it's a little touchy with Alex's folks.
MICHAEL: I understand.

Harold gives him a "I knew you would" squeeze.

MICHAEL: Who's Chloe?

Harold gestures discreetly in Chloe's direction.

HAROLD: It's Alex's girlfriend.

Michael peers into the pews.

Harold indicates Chloe in the front row, which they have almonst reached. Michael is impressed, brightening at the sight of her. But when he speaks to Harold, he's all solicitous friend.

MICHAEL: I'll take care of her."

I think the keys are:
- The writing is simple (but not simplistic).
- The actions reflect very specific feelings (and not vague).

These put me inside the character...all seven of them.

Now that's a high level of skill.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  Keep it Simple and Specific.

The Big Chill (1983)
by Lawrence Kasdan & Barbara Benedek

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