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1 Lecture 6: Subtext or Bust! Professor Christopher Bradley Double Indemnity (1944) Screenplay by Billy Wilder.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Lecture 6: Subtext or Bust! Professor Christopher Bradley Double Indemnity (1944) Screenplay by Billy Wilder."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Lecture 6: Subtext or Bust! Professor Christopher Bradley Double Indemnity (1944) Screenplay by Billy Wilder

2 Previous Lesson Designing a Scene –Purpose –Turning Points –Transitions Exposition –Show –Don’t Tell –Conflict The Turning Point (1977) Screenplay by Arthur Laurents 2

3 In this Lesson Dialog –Text –Subtext Image Systems Titles Proper Screenplay Formatting 3 Double Indemnity (1944) Screenplay by Billy Wilder

4 Dialog 4 Sunset Boulevard (1950) Screenplay by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder & D.M. Marshman, Jr. Lesson 6: Part I

5 Dialog – Text (1) Dialog is not conversation –You can get reality by walking out your front door. For free. Good art cuts out the boring parts! –“Speak as common people do, but think as wise men do.” —Aristotle 55

6 Dialog – Text (2) 6 Action/Reaction: Again, conflict. Scenes where people agree with each other have no life and they don’t advance your story! What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) Screenplay by Lukas Heller

7 Dialog – Text (3) Short, quick sentences. Half-sentences and one-word answers as often as not. Don’t direct the actors. (Don’t misunderstand the example McKee gives on page 391 of Story. He’s showing you how to break up chunks of dialog, but directing from the page is the mark of an amateur!) Avoid the Passive Voice 7

8 Dialog – Text (4) Monologues? Rarely. People rarely let others go on and on without asking a question or changing the subject. Remember, your characters should speak like real people (just more interesting)! 8

9 Dialog – Subtext (1) We rarely say what we really mean. For example: –Text: “Sorry this report is a few minutes late, Boss. I got held up helping Garret finish his spreadsheet.” –Subtext: “Not only did I complete my work, but I helped a less competent colleague complete his. A little something to remember at promotion time.” 9

10 Dialog – Subtext (2) Example: –Text: “We’re taking Andy’s car? That’s great! He always keeps us on our best behavior. I have to check with my Mom to see if I can still go.” –Subtext: “Andy’s a tedious, rule-obsessed fun-wrecker. I’m making other plans.” 10

11 Dialog – Subtext (3) Example: – Text: “Ed! You’re here! So… We both made it to the party after all. You know how food poisoning can just come and go really fast? I was feeling better so Barry stopped by to get me on his way. And look! You came, too!” – Subtext: “I didn’t want to go out with you, so I lied and said I was sick. I didn’t think you’d come here alone.” 11

12 Clip #1 Pause the lecture and watch the clip from Double Indemnity in the Learning Tasks section of today’s lesson. 12

13 Double Indemnity - 1 How does the text of what Phyllis and Walter are saying contrast with the subtext? What are the clues to what they are really feeling? 13

14 Double Indemnity - 2 What does Walter ask for in the scene? What does he really want? What kind of person does he consider Phyllis to be by his words? By his actions? 14

15 Clip #2 Pause the lecture and watch the clip from Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead in the Learning Tasks section of today’s lesson. 15

16 Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead - 1 Andy and Hank smile a lot in this scene. Is something funny? Andy’s body language and words indicate great confidence. Is he confident? Or desperate? 16

17 Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead - 2 Andy assures Hank that everything is going to work out fine. Is it your sense at the end of this scene that Andy believes everything is going to work out fine? 17

18 Image Systems 18 Lesson 6: Part II The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood

19 Image Systems The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood The Past and Present as Windows and Mirrors in The Best Years of Our Lives

20 Image Systems - 2 Looking to the Future and Hurrying From the Past 20

21 Image Systems Looking to the Future 21

22 Image Systems Looking to the Future 22

23 Image Systems - 5 Hurrying from the Past 23

24 Image Systems - 6 Looking to the Future and Hurrying From the Past 24

25 Image Systems - 7 In a climactic moment, Homer Parrish smashes the hooks he now has for hands through a window. 25

26 Titles 26 Lesson 6: Part III LA Confidential (1997) Screenplay by Brian Helgeland& Curtis Hanson

27 Titles The best titles raise questions in the audience’s mind and/or have the conflict of the story in the title itself. –The Empire Strikes Back –No Man of Her Own –Requiem for a Dream –White Men Can’t Jump –Do the Right Thing –Catch Me If You Can 27

28 Proper Screenplay Format 28 Lesson 6: Part IV

29 Proper Screenplay Format Your screenplay page should look something like this. Lots of white space Proper margins 29

30 Proper Screenplay Format The reading from Trottier will give you particulars, but I’d like to emphasize: – No fancy covers – No directing the camera – No directing the actors These things can label you as an amateur and you and I both want your work read (which is the first step to it being produced!) –Trottier is referring to “CONTINUED” and “CON’T” at the bottom of the page. If characters are continuing to speak after an action, you should use “CON’T”. 30

31 Assignments Psycho (1960) Screenplay by Joseph Stefano 31 Lesson 6: Part V

32 Reading Read Chapter 18 in Story, “Text” Read pages in Book III of The Screenwriter’s Bible. Also look at pages , regarding when to break the formatting rules. Do the Reading Review to be sure you’re clear on what you’ve read! 32

33 33 E-Board Post Demonstrate that you understand proper screenwriting format by posting a snippet of your script, properly formatted, including a SLUGLINE, ACTION, CHARACTER NAMES and a few lines of DIALOG. (You won’t be able to do it perfectly in the eboard format– just show that you understand these basics.) 33

34 End of Lecture 6 Next Lecture: Location, Location, Location Citizen Kane (1944) Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles 34


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