K.C. Scott’s “This Is Working”

On Tuesday’s episode of Scriptnotes, we’ll be looking at K.C. Scott’s original screenplay This Is Working, a former Three Page Challenge entry.

We just recorded the episode, and it’s already in my top ten.

Joined by special guest Franklin Leonard, Craig and I talk about character, story and thematic issues in ways we never could when only looking at just three pages. We get very specific about what’s working in the script now — but also what the movie may want to become. Plus we talk about the road ahead for this writer, and the choices he’s going to be facing.

I think listeners are going to get a lot out of this episode — and even moreso if they read the script beforehand. So download the script and give it a read this weekend if you have a chance.

We’ve also just added it to Weekend Read, at the top of the For Your Consideration list.

Take a look and see if you agree with our assessment on Tuesday’s show.

Uncluttered by Ignorance

Scriptnotes: Ep. 189

John and Craig dig into the overstuffed mail bag to answer listener questions about scenes, stagnation, subtitles and script breakdowns. Plus we reveal the consensus opinions on whether we should have ads, and look at possibilities for the Full Script Challenge.

We also have a lengthy digression into probability and the proper way to pronounce Los Feliz.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-30-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

The first and last thing you see

Jacob T. Swinney built a supercut comparing the first and last shots of 55 notable films:

Swinney isn’t trying to prove any specific point, only that these images feel very intentional:

Some of the opening shots are strikingly similar to the final shots, while others are vastly different–both serving a purpose in communicating various themes. Some show progress, some show decline, and some are simply impactful images used to begin and end a film.

Midseason Finale

Scriptnotes: Ep. 188

Craig and John wrap up many plotlines from previous episodes, with follow-up on Three Page Challenges, diversity numbers, Road Runner and other rules, plus the Gravity lawsuit in light of the Blurred Lines verdict.

Then, it’s time to start whole new storylines with discussion of the future of the show, including the Full Script Challenge and the possibility of not losing money on this whole venture. We want to know what you think, so tell us via email, Twitter or our long-neglected Facebook page, which we actually promise to check this week.

And there’s more! Weekend Read 1.5 adds iPad and iCloud support. Courier Prime has two new variants, Courier Prime Sans and Courier Prime Source.

Plus John and his compatriots will be testing a brand-new tabletop game in LA next Monday, and need your help. (Link below.)


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-22-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

What is a Cinderella story, anyway?

Linda Holmes examines what we mean when we talk about Cinderella:

There’s very little that’s common to every variant of the story, but in general, you have a mistreated young woman, forced to do menial work, either cast out or unloved by her family. She has an opportunity to marry well and escape her situation, but she gets that chance only after being mistaken for a higher-status person, so she has to get the man who may marry her to recognize her in her low-status form, which often happens either via a shoe that fits or some kind of food that she prepares.

Holmes notes that Marian Roalfe Cox had documented 345 variations of Cinderella — back in 1893.

Since then, we’ve come back to Cinderella repeatedly, making movies that retell the familiar story with small variations. The glass slipper can be a cell phone; animals may understand speech; the fairy godmother might be Da Vinci.

But in a broader sense, it often feels like Cinderella is the story of all overlooked, underappreciated protagonists:

If it’s just a rescue of a deserving underdog from an ordinary life and delivery to an extraordinary one, then The Little Mermaid is Cinderella, and Pretty Woman is Cinderella, and — to be honest? — Captain America is Cinderella. Lots of our current stories are. What is a fairy godmother, after all, that isn’t also present in the idea of being bitten by a spider and gaining the ability to climb buildings? What is that pumpkin coach but … the Batmobile?

(I was going to quibble with The Little Mermaid; she was already a princess from the start. But when you look at the story from when she shows up on land, it does track.)

To me, a useful delimiter for the modern Cinderella is the hero’s initial situation and values. “Have courage and be kind,” says the 2015 Disney Cinderella at least ten times in the film. By staying true to her mantra, she escapes her terrible plight and lives happily ever after. The new movie has pumpkin coaches and polymorphed mice, but to me it’s the hero’s journey from ashes to palace that most makes it Cinderella.