In my last post I shared a discovery. Screenplays are out on the internet with just a click. “How can this be?” I have wondered and still wonder in an age when there are an array of book sites and Amazon is eager to download any title to your kindle or nook for your card number. I took this as an opportunity to investigate an interesting fact I had learned about screen play writing. An important page the author must finesse is p. 17 – translated as minute 17 of a movie. Here are five more p. 17′s I’d like to share with you.
1. Another favorite chick flick of mine is Sleepless in Seattle. On p. 17 we see a bubbly Annie and handsome Walter loaded down with Christmas presents headed to a Christmas Eve family reunion. What’s not to love about seeing this handsome couple together on Christmas Eve bound to spend time with the fiancé’s family? However, something is not quite right with these two. Already we know the two are engaged, however Annie’s only meeting so far of each family member is through his description of them. She seems a bit too studied, very high strung and intent on pleasing him. Clearly she is not happy, at least not genuinely happy. Screenwriters: Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, Jeff Arch
2. In the movie Little Miss Sunshine Olive has just learned on p. 17 that Uncle Frank almost committed suicide. Now that’s a lot for a little girl to take in. Over the same conversation Richard explains to Olive that Uncle Frank had given up on himself which he adds “is something that winners never do.” There is the theme of the film, winners vs. losers in life. Screenwriter: Michael Arndt
3. In Toy Story 3written by the same screenwriter as LMS, p. 17 occurs on “garbage day”. It’s the scene when Andy’s mother plants a box in his room, labels it “college” and tells Andy he must choose the things he’s going to take with him. That is the moment Andy realizes he will soon be leaving his room and all things familiar behind. Decisions need to be made concerning what must be cleared out and what stays. The audience understands he will not be taking the toys with him. Screenwriter: Michael Arndt
4. A brilliant p. 17 lies in the script of The King’s Speech. Lionel
auditions for a play. The stinging words of the director hold no hope for his getting a part or any future part for that matter. The audience has to be thrilled with the very next scene. Still remembering the stinging rejection, we see the King of England no less, and his wife arrive to Lionel’s flat to make a business proposal. Clearly Lionel will be walking onto a very different kind of stage and with no audition. The contrast is brilliant. Screenwriter: David Seidler
5. On p. 17 another one of my favorite chick flicks, Serendipitywe read words like “serendipiocity” and “serendipaciousness” snow down to warm the chill Sara radiates while Jonathan, clearly interested in her makes it a quest to at least get her phone number. On the same page she reveals she has a boyfriend. The chemistry of the quick dialog convinces the audience they must match up. Screenwriter: Marc Klein
Since I shared this with you, have you found your own favorites?