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Must-Read Of The Day: The 1978 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK Story Conference Transcript!!!

Beaks here...

Kudos to Mystery Man on Film for fucking with my productivity. A moment ago, I was tearing through my review for THE HANGOVER (and this is a big deal because I've been blocked up worse than Hollis P. Wood). Now, I'm poring over 126 pages of the five-day 1978 conversation between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan that resulted in the birth of an archaeologist adventurer named Indiana Jones. And since that's going to delay the delivery of my review by several hours, I figured I'd completely derail your workday as well! As Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta reminds us, scraps of this monumental story conference were included in last year's innocuously dishy THE COMPLETE MAKING OF INDIANA JONES. Flipping through that book back then, it didn't occur to me that someone would eventually make available the entire transcript because... well, transparency isn't exactly Lucas's or Spielberg's thing. Sure, they'll let slip a few tantalizing details to Laurent Bouzereau for those two-hour making-of documentaries, but, for the most part, they prefer to keep the kitchen doors welded shut. The sudden appearance of this transcript is uncharacteristic, which suggests that a) it's an unofficial leak, b) it'll piss off Lucas and Spielberg, and c) it'll disappear soon. So head over to Mystery Man on Film immediately and download this sucker before it (likely) gets C&D'd off the internet. And if you flat-out do not have the time to read this today, then at least scroll down to the excerpts posted to Mystery Man's blog, where, among other revelations, you'll find that Lucas literally had the art of storytelling down to a science. Where was that guy ten years ago? Just in case you're wavering, here's the opening page of the transcript to seal the deal. Enjoy. And thank you Mystery Man - and Peter - for wrecking my day!
G -- We'll just talk general ideas, what the concept of it was. Then I'll get down to going specifically through the story. Then we will actually get to where we can start talking down scenes, in the end I want to end up with a list of scenes. And the way 1 work generally is, I figure a code, a general measuring stick perameter. I can either come up with thirty scenes or sixty scenes depending on which scale you, want to work on. A thirty scene thing means that each scene is going to be around four pages long. A sixty one means that every scene is going to run twenty pages long. (?) It depends on, part of it is the... (short gap in the tape) knock some of these out, and this doesn't work out the way we thought it would. You can move things around, but it generally gives you an idea, assuming that what we really want at the end of all this is a hundred and twenty page script, or less. But that's where we really want to go. Then we figure out vaguely what the pace of, how fast it's going to move and how we're going to do it. I have a tendency to work rather mathematically about all this stuff. I found it easier and it does lay things out. Especially a thing like this. The basic premise is that it's sort of a serialesque kind of movie. Meaning that there are certain things that have to continue to happen. It's also basically an action piece, for the most part. We want to keep things interspaced and at the same time build it. As I build this up, you'll see it's done vaguely by the numbers. Generally, the concept is a serial idea. Done like the Republic serials. As a thirties serial. Which is where a lot of stuff comes from anyway. One of the main ideas was to have, depending on whether it would be every ten minutes or every twenty minutes, a sort of a cliffhanger situation that we get our hero into. If it's every ten minutes we do it twelve times. I think that may be a little much. Six times is plenty. S -- And each cliffhanger is better than the one before. G -- (Pause) Actually, Steve, I thought we'd try a diminishing returns thing because I really hate making money. What, Larry? L -- You guys ever been to the Grand Canyon?

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