Read the script for the Oscar nominated movie and analyze it all this week.
Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this bi-weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:
Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
In every scene, something happens. A plot point is a scene or group of scenes in which something major happens, an event that impacts the narrative causing it to turn in a new direction.
A relevant anecdote. Years ago, I was on the phone with a writer discussing a script project. My son Will, who was about four years old at the time, must have been listening to me talking about “plot points” during the conversation because after I hung up, he asked, “Daddy, what’s a plop point?”
That’s in effect what a plot point is. It’s an event that ‘plops’ into the narrative and changes its course. So when you think Plot Point, think Plop Point!
The value of this exercise:
- To identify the backbone of the story structure.
- To examine each major plot point and see how it is effective as an individual event.
- To analyze the major plot points in aggregate to determine why they work together as the central plot.
This week: Jackie. You can download a PDF of the script here.
Written by Noah Oppenheim.
IMDb plot summary: Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.
Writing Exercise: Go through the scene-by-scene breakdown of Jackie and identify the major plot points. Post your thoughts in comments and we’ll see if we can come up with a consensus.
Major kudos to Karen Dantas for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown.
For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.
To download a PDF of the breakdown for Jackie, go here.
Tomorrow we shift our focus to the script’s key characters.
I am looking for volunteers to read a script and provide a scene-by-scene breakdown for it to be used as part of our weekly series. What do you get out from it? Beyond your name being noted here, my personal thanks, and some creative juju sent your way, hopefully you will learn something about story structure and develop another skill set which is super helpful in learning and practicing the craft.
The latest volunteers:
A Monster Calls / Andrew Turner
Anthropoid / Marija Nielsen
Arrival / Ashish Chand
Captain Fantastic / Despina Karintis
Denial / Gina Gomez
Eye in the Skye / Abhinav Tiwari and Bruce Gordon
Fences / Matt Cowley
The Founder / Eric Rodriguez
Hail, Caesar! / Brianne VanTuyle
Hell or High Water / Andrew Lightfoot
The Invitation / Joni Trumpold Brainerd
Jackie / Karen Dantas
Kubo and the Two Strings / Nikki Syreeta
Loving / Liz Correal
Maggie’s Plan / Monique Mata
Manchester by the Sea / Ashley Lara
Miles Ahead / Alecia Hodges
Moonlight / Ryan Canty
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 / Nikki Leydecker
The Secret Life of Pets / Paul Huffman
Victor Frankenstein / Lisa Gomez
Zootopia / Will King
Italics = Turned in scene-by-scene breakdown
Bold = Have used scene-by-scene breakdown in week-long analysis
Now is YOUR chance to contribute to this most worthy cause and provide an additional resource for the online screenwriting community.
Even if you do not participate in the analysis, discussion, or write up a scene-by-scene breakdown, I strongly encourage you to read these scripts.
So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!
I hope to see you in the RESPONSE section about this week’s script: Jackie.
Script Analysis: “Jackie” — Part 2: Plot