Monday, May 30, 2016

TODAY'S NUGGET: Spartan (2004) - Shifting In, Shifting Out (from Scope to Wideshot)

[Quick Summary: Special Ops ranger hunts for the kidnapped daughter of a U.S. official.]

3 Things I Appreciate in a Script:

1) Clarity of why we are here.  Here, it's laser focused on finding a missing college girl.

2) An intriguing opening.

ex. "Now, the two men look across the ravine at the young woman, seen disappearing over a ridge.

SCOTT (quietly): ...you better catch her..."

3) It's easy to follow when shifting in/out from a scope to wideshot.

I find it helpful to study how Mamet shifts our focus from inside a scope to a wideshot. He uses clear indicators to help the reader see when:

- We're in the scope (1st line, "in green, through a sniperscope), versus
- A specific location ("in the house"), versus
- On the character in a wider shot ("on Anton").

ex. "ANGLE EXT. THE BUILDING. Where we see the man, and Scott. We see the scene in green, through a sniperscope.

ANGLE, on Anton, looking through the scope.

ANGLE CU Anton, as he sees something in the scope.

ANGLE, in the house. Scott advancing toward the man.

SCOTT: ...I just wannit to know, I just came to ask you that question...

The man backs up, past a half-open glass French door.

ANGLE, on Scott, as he advances toward the man.

ANGLE, ANTON'S POV. Through the sniperscope. The faint traces of what might be the Picasso symbol.

ANGLE, on Anton, as we see him move the sniperscope and adjust its magnification toward the symbol...."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I liked that there was story reason for the shifting in or out. In the example above, it increased the tension as Anton watched from afar, helpless.

Spartan (2004)(draft dated Aug. 2002)
by David Mamet

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