The Beginning And Ending Of A Screenplay – Scott Myers

The Beginning And Ending Of A Screenplay – Scott Myers

Film Courage: Should screenwriters know the ending of
their story before beginning writing one? Screenwriter/Professor and Creator of Scott Myers: Well again, you know no writer is the
same and every story is different I’m reminded of the Writers Guild strike in
1988 which is the longest strike to date I broken in 1987 and within a year we
were on strike and that strike lasted I think 26 weeks half the year and it was
a bummer because he couldn’t earn money but what I did was I would go on these
picketing the picket line and I would tag the older writers and cuz I wanted
to hear about the old Hollywood days you know the studio system and whatnot and I
remember at the Fox lot there was a conversation I had with this guy from
New York and I remember his name but he was very funny very outspoken and he at
one point said to me Scott he said you got to know four things to know before
you start writing the script what’s the beginning of the story what’s the end of
Act one was the end of act 2 and what’s the ending of the story he said you
don’t got that you don’t got dick that’s what he told and so one of those is the
ending you know again going back to that bridge analogy if you know where you’re
going even if you can’t see maybe you can see the distance that light house
you know because you know where you’re going and I also another reason why if
you work with the protagonist and their disunity oftentimes that indicates that
unity state if you just go 180 degrees from where they start boom like my
favorite movie is the apartment with Jack Lemmon and at the beginning of the
movie he finds himself in a really weird situation he gave his key to his
apartment his bachelor to an upper level management guy who just asked him for a
favor one night to carry out a tryst turns out an extramarital affair so at
the beginning of the story we see CC Baxter Jack Lemmon we’re there these
four upper level management guys who are using his apartment almost nightly and
so he’s living in a state of disunity and that he’s not even able to live in
his apartment moreover he’s basically a decent guy but the reason he’s doing
that is because these guys all say the same thing like after every night hey
buddy boy we got a review coming up gonna give you good marks hopefully get
that promotion because he works in this like C of accounting people with you
know no there weren’t even cubicles it’s like he’s just a little desk and he’s
bought into the corporate mentality he wants to go up the corporate ladder not
necessarily because he’s greedy he just wants to get into a better wait station
in life but that’s his state of disunity and he’s also enamored of Fran cupola
that was shirley maclaine the elevator operator but he can’t screw up the
courage to ask her out as it turns out she’s having an affair with his boss mr.
Sheldrake fred macmurray and so that crushes him when he finds out worse
Sheldrake asks for the key which means that he’s now having an affair with the
woman that Baxter loves in Baxter’s house apartment and in his bed right so
just a horrible situation well if you look at where he is he’s enamored of the
corporate thing and yet he’s in love with this woman and we know he’s
basically a decent guy he can almost see where eventually he’s gonna have to
reject the corporate thing which is what he does but there are things he needs to
go through along the way he needs to bond with Fran Kubek she has an
attempted at his place and so they’re together for two or three days
so they have a chance to connect with each other he’s got a next-door neighbor
Dr. Dreyfuss who’s the mentor figure everybody in the apartment building
thinks that Jack the Baxter is having all these parties all the time you know
the doctor says when I want to donate your body to the
University we want to see that how you did that you know but so dr. Dreyfus
gets to him and says what do you need he says you need to be a mensch you know
what that is Baxter a human being and he’s given that advice so at the end of
the day when Sheldrick he’s now at this point by the end of the movie Baxter is
now in the office next to Sheldrick on the 26th floor so he has completely
achieved like the ultimate in corporate life he’s right there right next to the
boss well the boss asks for his key again because he had to throw it out
because he’s a fair guy he’s now separated from his wife and this whole
thing and Baxter doesn’t give it to him he gives him the key to the executive
washroom instead and Sheldrake is like what are you doing is this a that your
old pal that won’t work with me he says you know what I become a mensch
a human being so he takes those words so you can see by the fact that he starts
off in the state of disunity where he’s bought into the corporate mentality but
if he’s gonna achieve unity he’s gonna probably reject that so I do think that
that knowing the end of the story is critical but it’s often time indicated
right there just by virtue of what you learn about your protagonist at the
beginning which is interesting because the Graduate is kind of a twist on that
it’s where he doesn’t want to be part of the corporate world and he’s still
having an affair but it’s it’s almost out of desperation because it doesn’t
know what to do with this life and he’s got all this pressure and you know
plastics that’s what you know it’s just interesting cuz that’s kind of a yes
absolutely he’s completely lost and floundering he
doesn’t buy into the bin Benjamin he doesn’t buy into the plastic existence
of his parents and their friends and that whole thing and that generation and
he turns to this affair with Mrs. Robinson you know just because it’s
something to do and it’s not really that he becomes at all even approximating
what is his authentic nature until he meets Elaine Mrs. Robinson’s daughter
and that’s when he finally gets on board but even that’s a little bit fraudulent
because it’s like he’s so desperately yearning for some meaning in his life he
projects that onto her which is why at the end when the director said did not
say cut in the bus he just let that keep rolling and you see them sort of they’re
excited at first and then they’re just kind of sitting there and they don’t
know what they’ve done really you know remember 500 Days Of Summer where they
say at the beginning Tom um you know Hannah I figured Tom had a bad notary
but you know what a flawed notion of what romance was due to his his his bad
interpretation of the ending of of the Graduate you know cuz he thinks they
fall in love how beautiful and really it’s not that way at all it’s like he
just did this out of desperation and wanting to rebel and find some meaning
and I think he really necessarily loved her and she she wanted to rebel too you
know so that’s a bad and she runs off with him
so yeah that’s another case of the characters totally starts off in a state
of disunity and sort of moves toward unity but not really you

11 thoughts to “The Beginning And Ending Of A Screenplay – Scott Myers”

  1. I bet he's talking about Saul Turtletaub at the beginning. Saul's hilarious. You can't be in the same room with him without laughing at some point.

  2. I Always start with the ending, don't know exactly why.. I always imagine how its gonna end, then i start to build the path till that moment

  3. Scott has a terrific medium blog you need to check out if you’re a writer.

  4. he spent 6 out of 8 minutes giving a summary of "The Apartment".
    So there are 2 minutes of good info in this 8 minute video

  5. It will be awesome if you create a script writing competition and as an award you get the. winning scripts read by one of these awesome guests, I guess that will benefit everyone and may take some of your followers somewhere. Anyway I love your channel, I learn from it everyday , thank you

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