Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1

    I analyzed the second scene in Sunset boulevard and thought it would be nice with some feedback. Is it good or did I do something wrong?


    Scene analysis of Sunset boulevard 1

    Step one: Define conflict
    The two men drive the scene. They want the keys to Gillis car. Gillis is their force of antagonism because he doesn´t want to turn over his precious car to them.

    Step two: Note opening value
    Positive for Gillis. Eventhough he´s poor and is aware about the late payments he still has his car.

    Step three: Break the scene into beats (Point out the subtext)


    Beat #1

    Where are the keys?

    NO.1´s action: Forces Gillis to give them the keys

    Why should I give you the keys?

    Gillis reaction: Doesn´t understand


    Beat #2

    Because the company´s played ball with you long enough. Because you´re three payments behind. And because we´ve got a court order. Come on â€" the keys.

    NO.1´s action: Explains and tries to scare him

    Or do you want us to jack it up and haul it away?

    NO.2´s action: Threathens him

    Relax, fans. The car isn´t here.

    Gillis reaction: Lies


    Beat #3

    Had to get away from his health, I suppose?

    NO.1´s action: Doesn´t belive him

    You dont belive me? Look in the garage.

    Gillis reaction: Flatly denies


    Beat #4

    Sure we belive you, only now we want you to belive us. That car better be back here by noon tomorrow, or there´s going to be fireworks!

    NO.1´s action: Threathens him even more

    You say the cutest things.

    Gillis reaction: Hides his concern


    Step four: Note closing value and compare with opening value

    The scene turns to the negative. In the beginning Gillis owned his car, now the court wants it the next day if he doesnt get them the money he owes them.

    Step five: Survey the beats and locate the turning point
    1. Forces Gillis to give them the keys / Doesn´t understand.
    2. Try to scare him and threathens him / Lies
    3. Doesn´t belive him / Flatly denies
    4. Threathens him even more / Hides his concern

    The turning point is found in the 4th beat. Untill now Gillis has had some hope that he could fool them, here he gets an ultimatum.

  • #2
    I see your point but I did this analysis just to practice locating beats and see if and how the scene turns etc. This was the first time I did this. It´s not a complete scene analysis. I maybe should have written that.


    • #3
      : Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1

      Waaaaaaay too much Tomasz. Don't run before you can walk. Look at the big picture. This scene sets up the reason for Joe running, the puncture and having to hide out and take the crappy re-write job with Norma Desmond.

      THE PURPOSE is it gives us the initial jeapordy and sets up the inciting incident when he meets DESMOND. THAT IS ALL. [and great Wilder character work of course]

      Don't try and read too much in to it. But if you want an antagonist the real antagonist is Joe's lack of success. The Repo men are just a symptom of that. I don't know any writers who analyse their scenes in this detail. Leave it for the professors is my advice. Know why the scene is there but don't fuss over every line.


      • #4
        Youre overthinking the whole thing and missing the point.

        The scene is a set up. It provides motivation for Gilles to hide the car, the payoff being he accidentally pulls into Norma's driveway later.

        Also, seeing him as a liar tells us something about his character.

        From the exposition, we get a sense of just how dire his financial straits are.


        • #5
          Re: : Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1

          Dave did you read my last post? =)
          And the men drove the scene, that made Gillis the antagonist for them, in that scene eventhough Gillis is the storys protagonist.
          Can anyone tell me if I my analysis is ok? It´s not something I will do for a whole screenplay


          • #6
            Re: : Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1

            I read that Tomasz. When I'm writing a scene I tend to always think big picture. IE what is the overall theme, who are my STORY proag's and antag's. To me that is the important point and that is why I say the antagonist is Joe's lack of success. This is what makes him take every decision in the movie. This is what he is fighting. Joe is always the protagonist as it is his POV. The repo men are bit players there for a function. Instead of looking for individual beats in a scene I would look at the overall structure. The build, the complications, the climax. It is almost 3 act structure.

            We all do it differently but if you can spend to much time on the minutae when what you are actually looking for is a way to see the whole structure of a good movie.

            All advice is on a 'for what it's worth basis' But if I were just starting out I'd think more about macro structure than individual scene beats . Life's complicated enough.

            Edited to say

            Sorry Tomasz, I can't tell if your analysys is done correctly as I've never done one in my life. If it works for you, great.


            • #7
              Re: : Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1

              tomasz, if this helps you find the beats and turns in your own scenes, analyze away. I'm impressed that you're going to this depth of analysis over what is largely a forgettable scene in a fantastic film.


              • #8
                Re: : Analysis of a scene in Sunset boulevard 1

                Nothing wrong with doing this, Tomasz. Actors and directors do it all the time.

                At start of scene, Gillis is typing away. He's got money problems and he's trying to solve them by writing a story that will sell. He hasn't had much luck. So, at start of scene, Gillis is struggling to solve his money problems.

                Gillis is interrupted. A couple of guys show up to take away his car.(Inciting Incident/Problem established in scene)

                Gillis plays dumb, but they're not buying.

                They have a court order.

                Gillis lies to them. Car isn't here.

                Guys don't buy it. Have it back by tomorrow or we'll beat the crap out of you. Physical threat. Climax of scene.

                Gillis makes a wiseass remark like he's not worried, but he is worried. Now, he's got a much bigger problem than at start of scene: he's not writing and he needs money, immediately. And if you've spent any time in LA, you know it's a tough town without a car.

                Point being, the scene leaves Gillis in much worse shape than he was at start. And that's a good thing.


                • #9
                  Tomasz, nice job, you're on the right track.

                  Effective scenes are little "mini-dramas" with a beginning, middle and an end.

                  - a character wants something.
                  - another character is not willing to give it up easily.
                  - the first character wants it bad - progressively ups the pressure/stakes (these are usually the beats of the scene).
                  - the character either gets "it" or not.

                  Don't write scenes to set up anything. Each scene should be an independent little story. The complete story (the story progression, the character development) is a result of the way you sting the scenes together: This happens ... and so this happens ... and so this happens ... etc.


                  • #10

                    the film actually opens with him dead in the pool and a VO...
                    I think it's overdone. A beat can be summed up in one sentence.
                    if you do a Beat sheet for the film, it would simply be:
                    1.Gillis is dead in the pool and begins to narrate his story.
                    2. repo men show up to take his car
                    3. he lies, flees, and randomly drives into Norma Desmond's garage to hide.

                    That's it.

                    Sure you need conflict and all of that but some of it has to flow w/ your subconscious... I mean, when you walk do you go - lift leg - stretch - put fut down - step. okay lift other leg - step. No, you just walk!
                    If you need to learn to crawl before you walk, don't start with a Beat Sheet, start with Plot Points.


                    • #11
                      Re: hmm

                      Tomasz wasn't doing a beat sheet or an outline for the film. He was analyzing one minor scene, not the opening of the film or anything else, by breaking it down into its components -- the beats in the scene. No one, not even Tomasz, ever said that this is the way to go about writing a story. In that case, of course a beat sheet, or outline is useful.

                      The point of breaking down a scene is to make sure you understand how scenes work, to see who drives the scene, to make sure there's conflict. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, this is a common excercise for both actors and directors. What does my character want in the scene? What's preventing me from getting it?

                      I'm a director, primarily commercials, and I work with actors all the time. If you've been to a casting session, you know it's common to see a roomful of actors marking up their scripts, looking for the turns in the scene. This is absolutely something a writer should be familiar with. In fact, McKee spends a chapter in Story dealing with this very topic, Scene Analysis, which is where, although I'm just guessing here, Tomasz got the idea to do the excercise to begin with.


                      • #12

                        you know, i have to say your analysis is very linear. i mean, the analysis of 'where are the keys?' is: this forces gillis to give them the keys?

                        and 'why should i give you the keys?' is interpreted as meaning: gillis doesn't understand the question

                        this isn't analysis. you might as well say: 'where are the keys?' means: where are the keys, or get the keys and give them to us

                        'relax. the car isn't here' = gillis lies?

                        this isn't analysis



                        • #13
                          ok, point taken. I just think there was something amiss in the analysis. You don't really break a scene down into beats like
                          goes for keys
                          scratches head

                          i'm not trying to rip into him, there's just isn't any point to do it that way. If you want to talk actors pov, it's about Motivation and Objectives.
                          but - hey, whatever works.