Monday, September 8, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: Point Blank (1967) - THE Script That Inspired Walter Hill

[Quick Summary: A double crossed criminal gets revenge on those who left him for dead.]

For years, I'd read about how this script changed Walter Hill's life.

He had been writing for 2-3 years:
I was dissatisfied with the standard form scripts were written in - they just all seemed to be a kind of subliterary blueprint for shooting a picture and generally had no personal voice....
Alex's script knocked me out (not easy to do); it was both playable and literary....[w]ritten in a whole different way than the standard format (laconic, elliptical, suggestive rather than explicit, bold in the implied editorial style)...
This a-ha! moment led to Hill to his now famous haiku style.

I recommend reading this script for what the writer leaves in, as well as what he leaves out.

See how the writer "suggests" guilt, regret and a conscience with actions, but without using any of those words:

ex. "WALKER (shouting): Shut up - Lynne.

CHRIS (turning to him as she walks towards the bathroom): ...Chris?...Remember?...Chris!

Walker doesn't move but watches her disappear behind the glass partition.

He takes from his pocket the package of money that the messenger had delivered for Lynne.  He stares at it for a moment then leaves it for Chris on the bureau. He goes."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: "Suggesting" only works if the audience can follow the logic in the actions.

In the above example, Walker takes a moment to stare at the money.  Without this reflection, it is easy to assume he has no regrets.

Point Blank (1967)
by Alex Jacobs, Rafe and David Newhouse

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