If you’re a screenwriter, your best way to help your writing is by looking at scripts and watching other films. No matter the genre you’re writing, you should look at different scripts to help you understand exactly what made them special in the first place. You can take notes on how the characters have their own individual voice, how the story progresses, examples of conflict, and how the script is actually written.
Let’s take a look at five of the best films to watch for their screenplays.
First on our list is the 1996 dark comedy Fargo by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film is about a man who reaches rock bottom money-wise and hires two thugs to kidnap his wife so he can trick his wealthy father-in-law into getting ransom money.
The reason this script is on our list is because of how incredible the Coen brothers are with dialogue. All of their films are filled with unique and interesting characters that have their own individual voice. Examining just about any Coen brothers script is a must for any screenwriter. You’ll soon realize the genius behind their scripts.
Next up we have the classic 1994 film Pulp Fiction. By now, just about everyone has heard of Quentin Tarantino. His films have a style to them that is nearly impossible to replicate.
As for Pulp Fiction, this is arguably his best work. Although the film itself is extremely long, the script is great to analyze how even a 3-hour long film can be filled with constant conflict in every scene. If you’re by the rule of thumb of one page equalling a minute on screen, that means Pulp Fiction is almost 200 pages long as a script. Plenty of info to look at and learn from.
Next up we have the incredible science fiction film Blade Runner from Ridley Scott. Although when Blade Runner was first released it was met with mediocre reviews, over the years people finally began to appreciate the film.
The slow pace of the film was the polar opposite of what films were like back then. Meaning it focused more on dialogue and interpretation instead of heavy action sequences. However, when the film originally came out, Scott dealt with a ton of studio involvement which hurt his vision of the film. Eventually, the “Director’s Cut” came out which is what everyone focuses on being the true version of the film. The script is great to look at for the simple fact of how it’s a slow build.
By now, we all know and love Jaws. What started as a simple story, turned into a masterful script and film. In simple terms, it’s about a big scary shark and people who are scared of said big scary shark.
The reason this script is on our list is because of how the writers of Jaws took a simple story from a novel and made it into an all-time classic film. With the help Steven Speilberg directing skills, the film turned out to be perfect. Analyze this script to understand how a story can be simple in nature, but epic in execution.
Last, but not least, we have the 1998 film The Truman Show. The Truman Show is on this list for the simple fact it changed the landscape of film and television.
It was a completely original story no one had ever heard of. In case you didn’t know, it’s a story about a guy who was born as a reality tv star without knowing. Meaning everything around him is fake without knowing it. After the film came out, it eventually led to the mainstream success of what we now know as reality tv shows.