Monday, February 5, 2018

2018 OSCARS: Get Out (2017) - Emotional Building Blocks

[Quick Summary: When a young African American man accompanies his Caucasian girlfriend to meet her parents, he uncovers an awful horror.]

"A screenplay is not written to be read. It is written to be filmed."

Ugh.  True, but ugh.  What does it mean?!

How can you NOT read a screenplay?

How do you write something (words) to be filmed (pictures)?

As a new writer, I had the bright idea that I could just copy shooting scripts.  Wrong.

Years went by and I continued to read shooting scripts but wrote crap.  Why?

I was focusing too much on shooting script format and style (ex. he sits, she stands) rather than how WORDS form PICTURES THAT CONVEY AN EMOTION (ex. he jumps to his feet every time she gets up from the dinner table).

Today's shooting script is a good example to study.

It's not perfect and I wished for a little more than the utilitarian style.

However, if you can see the big picture, each scene conveys an emotional building block moving us forward.

How does the scene below make you feel? Loyal? Like a team?


...Rose finally pulls her driver's license from her purse. The Officer looks at it and over at Chris.

OFFICER RYAN: You two coming up from the city?

ROSE: Yeah. My parents live in the Lake Pontaco area. We're up here for the weekend.

OFFICER RYAN: Sir...? Can I see your license?

CHRIS: Oh...yeah. I have a state I.D.

ROSE: Wait, why?


ROSE: He wasn't driving?

OFFICER RYAN: I didn't ask if he was driving, I asked to see his I.D.

ROSE (to Officer Ryan): But why? It doesn't make any sense.

CHRIS: Here.

Chris offers Officer Ryan his I.D.

ROSE: No, fuck that. He shouldn't have to show you his I.D. because he hasn't done anything wrong.

CHRIS: Baby. It's okay --

OFFICER RYAN: Ma'am, any time there is an incident we have the right to --

ROSE: That's bullshit!


There is a tense silence. Officer Ryan gives up. Not worth the trouble. Officer Ryan's walkie chimes in.

OFFICER FROSTY: Everything alright up there Crowsie?

He presses his walkie button.

OFFICER RYAN: Yeah, I'm all good. (to Chris and Rose) You guys drive safe.

Rose and Chris get into their car.

OFFICER RYAN (cont'd): Get that headlight fixed...And the mirror."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: When they say "Screenplays are written to be filmed," they mean that they are filming a scene that convey an emotion --> series of emotional scenes --> a story.

Get Out (2017)
by Jordan Peele

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