This is the narrative I came up with to kill the President. I wrote it out like a screenwriter would write a treatment for a movie.
Then I boiled it down to a paragraph. Then I boiled that down to a pitch line.
So let me start in reverse by giving you the pitch, then I’ll do the paragraph and treatment – if I have time.
Lee Oswald, a disgruntled loner and communist, with a troubled past and a history of violence, assassinates the President if the United States in Dallas, Texas.
Okay, here’s the paragraph.
A troubled and violent lone gunman, Lee Oswald, assassinates the President of the United States in Dallas, Texas. Lee Oswald had defected to Russia years earlier and had returned to the US with his Russian wife. Unable to secure steady employment he became disillusioned and then turned to violence, He ordered a rifle through the mail which he used to shoot at General Edwin Walker and President Kennedy. After killing the President, Mr. Oswald shot at and killed a Dallas police officer, JD Tippit. Oswald’s friends describe him as insecure, boastful and at times angry. There are numerous reports that he beat his wife.
From here, I wrote out a long detailed treatment which in its initial draft was not what happened but was close enough.
No first draft is ever the final draft.
Some are, but not this one.
I had to work with it.
Then I storyboarded it out.
I’m a terrible artist. I use stick figures, but stick figures are better than nothing.
I do a lot of cut and paste with photographs to help me see things that I cannot draw.
I laid it out like a comic book.
Thinking and imagining takes more of my energy then walking around.
I studied a lot of movies in my lifetime. Let me tell you something: Planning is everything.
Here are some rules I have for screen plays:
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Plan it out. Storyboard it out.
- One movie, one villain.
- The contrast between good and evil must be strong. Reality doesn’t sell.
- People go to the movies to be entertained, not lectured to.
- One movie, one screenwriter. The only exception would be a husband and wife team. Hud, which came out ironically in 1963, was written by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr.
Okay, I have many more rules, but those are enough for now.
By the way, I loved Paul Newman in that movie. I know he was supposed to be the bad guy, but I felt bad for him. His father, Melvyn Douglas, was so mean to him.
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