Monday, December 7, 2015

TODAY'S NUGGET: The Professional (1994) - Where Does Jeopardy Come From?

[Quick Summary: A hitman takes on an orphaned girl, and it changes their lives.]

My 3 thoughts:

1) I'm conflicted about this well crafted script. I liked it, but it unsettled me.

2) I was happy it is well told.  I was not happy with the age of girl (12).

3) I'd recommend reading it if you would like to see examples of characters in constant jeopardy, sometimes physical or emotional, but often both.

Jeopardy arises from the risks the characters take, and keeps the tension going.

In the scene below, Leon introduces Mathilda to his employer for the first time. She is unseasoned and giving her on-the-job training is a risk for everyone.

ex. "INT. TONY'S RESTAURANT - DAY

TONY is completely dumbfounded. He's sitting across from LEON and...Mathilda!
TONY can't believe his eyes or ears.
LEON is slightly embarrassed but stays calm.

LEON: As you can see, I took a hit...and I need a hand. She's young but...she learns fast, and...it's just a try...kids need to be shaped into something - right?

TONY (lost): Uh...yeah...I dunno...I guess...kids maybe, but not babies!

There's silence.

LEON (uneasy): She's eighteen...

TONY looks at MATHILDA doubtfully.

LEON: ...how about something to drink?

TONY (to Manolo): Manolo?! A glass of milk for Leon!

MATHILDA: ...two.

TONY turns and stares down MATHILDA.

MATHILDA (with a sweet smile): ...please.

MATHILDA's sweet face overwhelms TONY.

TONY (strongly): ...Manolo! Two glasses of milk!"

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Is your character too safe? Bored? Make a risky move!

The Professional (1994) 
by Luc Besson

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