The Airport Meeting (A Screenplay)
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As I wrote and rewrote the scene, trying to get the tone right, I found myself returning to screenplays by writers like Chayefsky and Goldman, two masters who were writing at the time that Argo takes place Goldman is, of course, still writing and still a master. In their films of the period, one line spoken by a man or a woman in a room could change the tone not only of a scene, but of an entire film. And these writers could do it without grandiloquence, but with precision, and often with spitballs — shifting a conversation with an ironic barb that could render the boardroom of a television network or an editorial meeting at the Washington Post speechless.
How would these guys write the scene? I settled on the idea that Mendez would throw a spitball into the self-serious conversation by making a joke about giving the bicycle escapees Gatorade. Which meant I had to determine whether Gatorade was on the market and a commonly recognized brand in December of Mendez would make his off-hand joke.
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The table would go silent. Or what if the hero learns he has cancer, not from his doctor, but by a hypochondriac stranger he meets randomly? If a scene is meant to cause fear, you can write it as a comedy. This is, in fact, a technique that actors use all the time. They take the text of the scene the story and play it out with a different subtext than the intention of the scene.
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Great screenwriters do the same thing,. At first, he only notices her shoes. Then she leans close to him and says:. And it is with this intention that the scene develops. As you can hopefully see, this technique not only makes a scene that is more real and more convincing because of its subtext, but it also creates a far scarier threat than they would have achieved by simply going with the grain of the scene.
For what is more threatening than dangerous people who, on the surface, act as though they have friendly intentions? Every summer they are allowed to take him out for a one-day-picnic in the country. Everything seems to be going fine. They make it through their lunch and the kids are running around playing tag when all of a sudden, they discover that the uncle is missing.
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After a brief, frantic search they find him sitting, of all places, in the crown of a tall tree. But while that may be true, this scene and others like it, do have a certain method to their madness. It all comes down to two major principles. Then there is taking it over the top. The key is to know that the audience is already expecting something to happen.
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You push the payoff to its outer limits. That was not the surprise. But what he ended up doing and how he did it, was. If the Uncle would have merely gone crazy and rambled incoherently, that would have been within the scope of what we would have expected and so the scene would not have stood out. One of the things that spec writers often do not understand when writing scenes are the wonderful, time-honored principle of size vs impact. If the intention of a scene is to show us how a big monster attacks the main character — then too many spec writers would simply have written the scene predictably.
We would have seen the monster, in all its ferocious glory, lash out at the character. Bad scripts are abundant with such scenes. Professional writers, however, know the art of playing big things out in small ways and vice versa.
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Instead of showing the big, scary monster, we would instead see a tiny but significant sign of it. I liked the idea of juxtaposing a midlife crisis with that time in your early 20s when you're, like, What should I do with my life? Main article: Lost in Translation soundtrack.
Argo Script at IMSDb.
Main article: List of accolades received by Lost in Translation. Film portal. Australian Classification. Retrieved March 14, American Film Institute. Retrieved September 9, Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 13, The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, It doesn't take much to figure out that 'Lost in Translation,' the title of Sofia Coppola's elegiac new film about two lonely American souls in Tokyo, means more than one thing.
There is the cultural dislocation felt by Bob Harris Bill Murray , a washed-up movie actor, and Charlotte Scarlett Johansson , a young wife trying to find herself. They are also lost in their marriages, lost in their lives. As Charlotte says, 'I just feel so alone, even with people around.
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