-

Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

HTF Script-to-Screen Challenge & Discussion


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 Vince Maskeeper

Vince Maskeeper

    Lead Actor

  • 6,504 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 18 1999

Posted May 29 2003 - 05:17 AM

HTF Script-to-Screen Challenge

The hope overall is that by looking at the core element of film making, the script, we can get a better understanding of the process of making film, and a deeper understanding of film as an art form.

By starting out discussing the script as a stand alone piece of literature- and then discussion how the film maker(s) handle this material- I hope that we can gain an interesting perspective on the finished film, and the film media itself.



Script for Round 1

The first script for our discussion will be BLOOD SIMPLE by Ethan & Joel Coen. The script can be downloaded (in text format) here:

http://thirdlayer.pc...lood Simple.txt (It can also be found in HTML format HERE).

This script comes from the published book version of the shooting script (which is available from amazon for anyone looking for a book version. There is also a Coen collection book available for those interested.).

Beginning screenwriters should take note: Because the Coen's direct their own screenplays, and because this is a late draft, they contain a lot of shot direction (a definite no-no for spec writers).

This copy of the screenplay also contains a scene deleted from the 1st draft and a commentary from Ethan & Joel Coen explaining why they took it out (at the end).

I chose a Coen Bros script for several reasons: mostly because of their abilities as writers-- but also for the interesting twist that they knew they would be directing this as they wrote, so some of the S'hooting" style descriptions are included-- a good help for many of us reading a screenplay for the first time.

In addition, I chose an early Coen script (Their first script that was produced as far as I know) as I feel it might have more areas that could be improved upon and critiqued for discussion-- and because I hoped that there would be enough people on the forum who have not seen this film.


How this works

I ask that anyone who wants to take part download the screenplay and begin reading. Any thoughts about the script can be posted and discussed here- you don't have to finish reading to start posting your thoughts (In fact, I'd like to see people posting their major thoughts as they complete each portion of the script).

The reading/discussion process will continue through the weekend of June 7/8th- at which point I'd ask that participants watch the film and discuss their thoughts of the film and it's comparisons to the screenplay. BLOOD SIMPLE is available on DVD, and can be had for less than $10 from Deepdiscountdvd.

I ask that if you haven't yet seen BLOOD SIMPLE that you wait to watch the film until you finish the screenplay. I also ask that you avoid checking the IMDB page for casting choices or user reviews, and instead try to visualize the movie completely from scratch using the written word.

If you have already seen Blood Simple- you are more than welcome to take part in this discussion- I only ask that you keep comments specific to the film OUT of the discussion until everyone else has had a chance to discuss the screenplay and see the film. I welcome anyone in the discussion- just hope that participants can try to keep it fun for everyone!

So, please download the script and start reading. I'm eager to see the comments posted here- and again ask that any comparisons or discussions specific to the film version of BLOOD SIMPLE be left out until June 9th.
Need an introduction to home theater? Check out our FAQ and Primer!!

#2 of 13 Seth Paxton

Seth Paxton

    Lead Actor

  • 7,588 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 05 1998

Posted May 29 2003 - 05:32 AM

First thought, the opening strongly reminds me of Big Lebowski which naturally brings to mind the idea of Sam Elliot doing the voice work at least.

Of course this is in reverse order and the opening scene could not have initially been pitched as "like Big Lebowski".

Maybe the pitch for the opening VO might have been more like "Sunset Blvd but in the desert". Posted Image

#3 of 13 Adam_S

Adam_S

    Producer

  • 6,102 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 08 2001

Posted May 29 2003 - 05:39 AM

excellent, this is the only Coen film I've not seen, and I actually watched the first thirty mintues or so but found myself bored out of my skull (this was about three-four years ago when Coen was synonomous with OBWAT, Hudsucker, Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing to me). This should be interesting. I'll try to get to this over the weekend.

Adam
 

#4 of 13 JohnRice

JohnRice

    Lead Actor

  • 8,493 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 20 2000
  • Real Name:John

Posted May 29 2003 - 08:29 AM

Downloaded and about to print.


Of course, I've seen Blood Simple, but only twice. The first was quite a few years ago on LD and the second was when the DVD came out. I actually started to put the DVD in the player a few weeks ago, but changed my mind. Now I'm glad.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#5 of 13 Holadem

Holadem

    Lead Actor

  • 8,972 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2000

Posted May 29 2003 - 09:13 AM

Having never watched this film, I am interested in taking part in this discussion, just not sure how Posted Image

Anyway, count me in.

--
Holadem

#6 of 13 Derek Miner

Derek Miner

    Screenwriter

  • 1,668 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 22 1999

Posted May 30 2003 - 04:25 PM

This discussion will feel a bit odd for me... I watched BLOOD SIMPLE about a year ago, long enough that I don't remember everything, but some of my thoughts will obviously be colored by having seen the film.

I read about half the screenplay tonight. I think there's an upside and a downside to the way the Coens wrote this. Because they always planned to make the film themselves, they pretty much designed the film on the page. But they also negelct to fill in some detail to help us visualize the characters.

Right off the bat, the mood is suspenseful. We get a conversation between two unidentified (and unseen) characters talking uncomfortably, then we realize they're being followed. I'm picturing a low-key, moody film that requires a bit of investment from a viewer. The first scene makes the reader (viewer) ask a number of questions, but I can imagine some people becoming disinterested because major developments are slow to build.

The basic situation is laid out efficently before we know anything substantial about the characters: Woman leaves her husband; woman ends up in the arms of a guy who works for husband; husband knows and isn't happy.

We a good idea the type of person Visser is immediately, from his narration, his actions, and the Coens' description. Ray and Abby are pretty much blank slates at the start of this script, and it's a few pages before we see how lame Marty is. The scene where Marty tries to flirt with the woman in the bar is amusing and gives us a good impression of what this guy is like. He's cheap, he's a racist and he fancies himself interesting where the other characters obviously wish he would go away.

While I know such specific shot directions are not normal in screenplays, I think the Coens harmed this screenplay by being so specific. They distract from the substance of the scene occasionally, and often I thought they were somewhat cliched in their ideas. Or perhaps it's just that the shots read as "this looks cool" rather than "this underscores the substance of the scene."
= Derek Miner =
Co-founder, Sunscreen Film Festival

#7 of 13 Vince Maskeeper

Vince Maskeeper

    Lead Actor

  • 6,504 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 18 1999

Posted June 09 2003 - 08:59 AM

I finished the script last week- but was waiting to see some thoughts from other readers before posting my long review. Looks like this idea didn't get as much play here as I had hoped it would...

Well, i will be continuing my discussion with my small group locally this summer. I plan to wait till this weekend to watch the film anyway- so I guess I'll make one last try to see if anyone else wants to participate in this sort of discussion here.

I will post my thoughts sometime tomorrow (My birthday)- and hope that maybe 1-2 more people actually find this idea appealing!
Need an introduction to home theater? Check out our FAQ and Primer!!

#8 of 13 JohnRice

JohnRice

    Lead Actor

  • 8,493 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 20 2000
  • Real Name:John

Posted June 09 2003 - 02:06 PM

I'm here Vince. I have it printed up and was just awiting to take it over to a buddy's place to bind it. I definitely want to participate, so don't give up. I know it won't take long to read. I would say I would do it tomorrow, but I have a feeling a hefty 4 hour chunk of my day will be taken up with a viewing of Once Upon a Time in America. Maybe I can hold that one off 'till the weekend.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#9 of 13 Seth Paxton

Seth Paxton

    Lead Actor

  • 7,588 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 05 1998

Posted June 09 2003 - 07:00 PM

Sorry Vince, I just went to Vegas for several days. Give me till sometime tomorrow to add more discussion. I am still really behind this idea.

#10 of 13 Lew Crippen

Lew Crippen

    Executive Producer

  • 12,060 posts
  • Join Date: May 19 2002

Posted June 10 2003 - 01:59 AM

Happy birthday, Vince. I’ve not had time yet to read the script. I’ll probably just have to be content on this one to read everyone’s comments.
¡Time is not my master!

#11 of 13 Ray Warner

Ray Warner

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 76 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 03 2003

Posted June 10 2003 - 04:10 AM

I'll jump in on this. I think I'm going to take my copy to Kinko's and get it done up reasonably nice. I know I'm late to the party, but I do this sort of thing for fun on my own time, so why not make it a social affair?

Vince, for round two, what are the odds that we could do a movie that hasn't been released yet? I know an early draft for Kill Bill is readily available, for example.

Not sure of the legal issues that could result, but it's just an idea. That way, nobody will have seen the film, but we'll have read it. After the release date, we can hold the same type of discussion.

Anyway, I have yet to see blood simple, but I read the script and saw the film for The Big Lebowski, and those were remarkably similar. I'd expect the same to happen here, to go out on a limb. I'll read it today and see it tonight to get up-to-date.
XBL Tag: DeusJester (pronounce it DAYS-Jester)
Current Project: Trying to make my Dreamcast think it's a Naomi board. It's working so far!

#12 of 13 JohnRice

JohnRice

    Lead Actor

  • 8,493 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 20 2000
  • Real Name:John

Posted June 10 2003 - 07:08 PM

OK, the script is bound and I'm ready to start reading. This week is a little weird, so I may not contribute until the weekend, but I hope some others are ready to join in by then.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#13 of 13 Alex Spindler

Alex Spindler

    Producer

  • 3,973 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 23 2000

Posted June 23 2003 - 04:13 AM

Finally got done with the script, although I haven't rewatched the film. I will say that, largely due to their notes, I have a pretty clear idea of how the film would look.

The film itself plays pretty seriously, but with some splash of color that could be considered humor. It was interesting how the misunderstandings and back and forth was carried from start to finish, with Visser thinking they had his evidence (which I think they only got because he tried to break into the safe), Ray thinking that Abby tried to kill and rob her husband, Abby thinking Ray tried to kill her husband, and Meurice thinking that Ray had robbed the place altogether.

Looking it over, it is hard to imagine someone thinking this would be a hit movie. It seems to be loaded with atmosphere, with lots of long pauses and swirling fans to punctuate the scenes. As written, I could imagine directors downplaying the humor in scenes in favor of making a traditional thriller. Of course, I could also see them overplaying the humor, such as Meurice's dialog and "seeing his face when he realizes it was a dead end". The excised scene at the end would have solidly led me to the conclusion that this was a comedy, however.

I've got to give the film a rewatch after having read the script, although I can imagine that it remains largely unchanged from the script.