Last time, we played around with movie visuals, working to see if we could figure out what was happening in a movie without sound or dialogue. In that exercise, you picked a movie you’d never seen.
This time, pick one of your favorite movies. Old or new. Any genre. Doesn’t matter. Once you have one or a few in mind, you’ll be ready for this exercise.
Let’s get started.
Watch the Movie
You love and enjoy it, so watching it again shouldn’t be a big deal. But this time, as you watch, make notes about why you like this particular film. Is it the story? The characters? The dialogue? The visuals? The film score? What draws you into the film and holds your interest time and time again?
Are there specific scenes that are memorable to you? Why? What makes those scenes or sequences stand out in your mind above the others?
Read the Script
Find the script online and read through it. Does the script give you similar emotions or feelings to the film? Are there any changes you notice between the text of the screenplay and the completed film? If so, why do you think these changes were made?
Watch the Movie Again with a Critical Eye
I’m not asking you to change your opinion or enjoyment of the movie you’ve chosen. Watch the film in this exercise and analyze what works and doesn’t. What are the strong points of the story, characters, etc.? What are some of the weaker moments in the film?
Would the film still work without them, or are they needed to move the story forward?
Re-read the script. Were these scenes in there, or were they added later?
Why Am I Doing This?
By digging deeper and analyzing your favorite films, you can learn how these screenwriters crafted a narrative and how the filmmakers interpreted the words into a completed film. Your task as a screenwriter is to create a compelling world on the page that can be elevated by other creative talents to become something still representative of what’s written.
A screenplay is a blueprint for a massive construction project that becomes a beehive of creativity populated by actors, production designers, directors, costume designers, digital artists, composures, and hundreds – if not thousands – more.
Taking the time to dig deeper into the initial creative process and the text that was turned into the film, learning from in its original form, can help you understand the screenwriting process and the work needed to bring those words to life.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!
2 thoughts on “Writing Exercise of the Week: Pick a Favorite Movie”
Should I start with Titanic? Or Harry Potter? Or Home Alone? Or something from the Bollywood? 🤔 What’s your favorite movie?
@RLC, I would do Home Alone just because it’s a shorter film and you may be able to find different versions of the screenplay online.
Some of my favorites are Mary Poppins, The Rock (1996), The Wizard of Oz, Spy, and Batman Returns. It’s definitely hard to pick a top favorite! Happy viewing!