Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 OSCARS: Nightcrawler (2014) - Writing a "Visual" Script

[Quick Summary: A news feed vulture hustles for nightly video footage in L.A.]

Dear New Writer,

I don't say this lightly: 

- This script will screw with your head.
- You'll only get ONE chance to read it for the first time. 
- Please DO NOT ruin this gem by reading it before you're ready.*

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Hardened Seasoned Writers,

This is a high caliber, character driven script.

It is a confident script, and rules are broken left and right:

- There is no protagonist arc. (Gilroy is "sick of arcs.")
- It's deliberately non-conformist. (No sluglines, different size fonts.)

However, it stands out to me because it is a good example of the highly coveted, highly elusive "visual" script.**

Notice how the writing directs your eye to details that make up a whole picture:

ex.  "LOU

goes to the body in the car...props it into view...drapes it over the steering wheel...runs to the brush...drags the second body by the leg onto the road...positions a lifeless arm...stepping back and

LOU'S POV THROUGH CAMCORDER

as he focuses on a shot of both bodies in the foreground...red RECORD light on...fire starting...entangled cars becoming a bonfire as

FIRETRUCKS and POLICE

start arriving and"

The craft here worth studying is:
- How the writer moves your eye;
- How the visuals flow together (Lou stages the bodies --> What he see in the camcorder --> Firetrucks arrive);
- What the pictures together add up to (Lou is messing with a crime scene)

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I think a "visual" script means the script has good building blocks that add together easily.

What we see in Scene 1 + Scene 2 --> naturally leads us to Scene 3.

Nightcrawler (2014)
by Dan Gilroy

*Ready = Have already read at least 20+ scripts (40+ is better)
** Everyone wants a "visual script," but no one knows how to define it.

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