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Old 09-09-2010, 06:44 PM   #1
Ironman
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Default What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

Hello all

As I aspire to write and direct, I always wonder, what makes a great script. Perhaps an award winning masterpiece.

Is it the character dialogue, their actions or perhaps originality of everything?

But how can I be original if millions of other film makers have done a similar concept. I want to write on assassins but that has been done before. How about a bank robbery? Its been done many times before.

I think I know, I could perhaps write about assassins who rob a bank but I'm sure it has been done before.

So the broad question I ask is, what makes a script an award winning story?
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

I would say a story that gets better and better until the end. That would be my definite definition.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

If you can read it the entire way through without hating yourself once.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

Full page adverts in Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

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Old 09-10-2010, 03:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

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Full page adverts in Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

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Ha! Star Wars Episode III had a poster completely covering one wall of a 12 floor building downtown here, but didn't stop it from sucking balls.

Marketting gets results, execution from the blueprint up makes a great film.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

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Originally Posted by Ironman View Post
Hello all

As I aspire to write and direct, I always wonder, what makes a great script. Perhaps an award winning masterpiece.

How about a bank robbery? Its been done many times before.

One of the things that great films do is show how things work. The French film Rififi has a 25 minute dialogue free sequence that shows, in realistic detail, how to rob a bank.

Most great bank robbery films are based on true events, including Rififi, Dog Day Afternoon and many others. JJ Abrahms is working on a movie about a robbery (based on a true story) that shows how thieves compromised a vault that was so impenetrable that the police couldn't even figure out how it was done, even after they caught the ringleader.

Films like Point Break, Heat and Inside Man might be more thrilling, but ultimately they are too full of contrivances and unrealistic details to hold up.

Last edited by kintnerboy : 09-10-2010 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

Lots of flashbacks and voice over. "We sees" are really good too.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

Without a doubt, a white liberal protag saving poor brown people. It's a Hollywood favorite.

Dead Poets Society took it to another level though. A white man saving rich white kids. Now that was something.

If you're trying to come up with an Oscar winning script, ask yourself: "What would Hillary Swank like?" Et voila, hello red carpet.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

OP, in my opinion, you are asking the wrong question.

What you should be asking is what makes a great story.

The execution is important, obviously, and is something you are acutely aware of it seems... But at the core of any execution is a good story that resonates with a mass audience and that hopefully never goes out of style, regardless of the subject matter.

For example, there are millions of ways to tell a heist story... However, there are only a few ways of telling a really good heist story, so that it becomes more than a heist story.

Think about something like Robin Hood, for example?

It's essentially an 17th century "heist" story with an iconic character... But what really makes this legend stand the test of time?

In my opinion, it is not just because it's about an noble outlaw robbing from the rich to give to the poor. This singular aspect concerns altruism, but it also encompasses many other universal themes like justice, defiance of tyranny, standing up for what you believe in, choosing your own destiny, etc.

So, as a place to start, I suggest taking a step back and look at your heist movie and see what it is really about underneath its execution to possibly guide you in the construction of that execution?

Also, ask yourself why do people like heist movies in the first place? The genre itself is timeless.

One answer is it allows us collectively to live the wish fulfillment fantasy of just taking what we want, consequences be damned.

Of course, there are consequences, but this is the point. The bad (or good) things that happen, happen to fictional characters and not us in real life. We can either pull off the heist of the century and no one be the wiser... Or we can have it fail and fall apart during and after the heist as we struggle to make it out alive with our share. It's entertainment in its purest form, IMO.

It's up to you, but it comes back to the underlying story because this is one aspect a lot of aspiring writers will never get. They might be able to turn a phrase that makes Shane Black blush, but if the story itself is weak they will have a harder time making it because this is what skilled writers are at their core: Skilled story tellers.

The writing is easy, it's telling a good story that is hard.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: What makes a great script? Perhaps an award winning script.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Typewriter View Post
I would say a story that gets better and better until the end. That would be my definite definition.
Dude, that is a great answer.
(except I'm going to modify it a bit)

A story that starts (insert kick-ass adjective here) and gets better and better until the end.
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