Spielberg Thinks You Should Read More by Fiona Wheeler Joseph McBride writes in his screenwriting manual Writing in Pictures, The fragmentation of the TV-watching experience, the influence of the Internet and YouTube, and the effect of our amped-up video culture on feature filmmaking have resulted in a modern style relying more on moment-to-moment sensation than on the traditional pleasures of coherent storytelling. Culture is turning away from books in favor of the visual media in recent decades, the related decline in reading skills also have had damaging effect on our storytelling skills. A single company could no longer make movies secure in the knowledge that each new title would be passed along and shown by the various branches of the parent company to a ready-made domestic and international audience. Budgets were tightened, studios became more cautious.
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Ray Morton is a writer, senior contributor to Script magazine and script consultant. His book A Quick Guide to Screenwriting is available online and in bookstores. Follow Ray on Twitter: Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released forty years ago this November.
Four decades later, the film remains notable for many reasons: It tells an exciting tale filled with action, thrills, terror, humor, and a genuine sense of wonder that leads to one of the most transcendent endings in movie history. It was the first major sci-fi film to depict first contact as a potentially positive experience — that a meeting between mankind and beings from another world could be a joyous, peaceful, uplifting event, rather than an occasion of invasion and horror.
In the years following CE3K and especially E. A Scientific Inquiry by Dr. Hynek was an astronomer and professor at Northwestern University who had spent years working as a consultant to Project Blue Book — a U.
Air Force unit that was created to investigate UFO sightings, but whose true purpose seemed to be to debunk them. Hynek was initially glad to comply, feeling that most people who reported seeing UFOs were crackpots and that most sightings could be easily explained away as mistaken satellites, weather balloons, and swamp gas.
Most could be, but Hynek soon discovered that some could not be.
Intrigued, Hynek wanted to investigate these curious cases further, but found the Air Force resistant to the prospect. After Project Blue Book closed down, Hynek continued his investigations through his own Center for UFO Studies and wrote his book, in which he identified three distinct types of interactions with UFOs, which he called close encounters: A Close Encounter of the First Kind is the sighting of an unidentified flying object.
A Close Encounter of the Second Kind is some sort of physical evidence detritus, scorched earth, flattened grass, marks in the dirt, etc. In the early s, much questionable and illegal behavior on the part of the United States government was coming to light including illegal actions by the CIA, dishonest handling of the Viet Nam War, and most notably the Watergate scandal.
In the course of the story the investigator would expose the scandal and the film would end with the first meeting between mankind and aliens. After setting the project up at Columbia pictures, they needed someone to write the script. The producers were currently preparing to make Taxi Driver and suggested its screenwriter Paul Schrader.
The four met and tossed around ideas. Schrader suggested that they play down the thriller aspects of the story and instead make it a story of spiritual transformation. Paul — whose job was to persecute Christians until he had a spiritual awakening on the road to Damascus and became a Christian himself — Schrader suggested they do a story about a skeptical UFO debunker who has a Close Encounter of the First Kind and then sets out to make contact with aliens.
To explain how the protagonist is ultimately able to make contact with the e. Schrader wrote a draft but neither Spielberg nor the Phillipses liked it — they felt it was too dark, too heavy, too cerebral. Spielberg and the Phillipses started over again with screenwriter John Hill, requesting he return to the original concept of a more traditional thriller about a UFO cover-up.
Hill wrote a draft but upon reading it Spielberg decided that he no longer wanted to proceed with the thriller concept. He found it hard to care about a military protagonist and felt that neither the Schrader nor the Hill scripts captured the magic and wonder of UFOs and outer space that was the reason he wanted to make the movie in the first place.
|Contributing Movie Critic||He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. After gaining traction in Hollywood with directing television and several minor theatrical releases, Spielberg became a household name as the director of Jawswhich was critically and commercially successful, and is considered the first summer blockbuster.|
|From script to screen: Bridge of Spies||Misconceptions persist because the agency business is somewhat secretive. There are lots of very powerful agents and agencies that keep a low profile on purpose.|
|About Ray Morton||They tend to be: The recent death of Charles Schultz, Creator of the Beloved Peanuts comic strip, has been suggested as the day the laughter died.|
Spielberg realized that the only way he was going to get the movie he wanted was to write the script himself. Rather than a military man, Spielberg focused his script on a suburban husband and father — a power company employee who has a close encounter of the first and second kinds while out one night on a call.
Not a natural writer, Spielberg struggled to pen his screenplay. It took him a long time, but he eventually laid out the story he wanted to tell and the movie he wanted to make. With Hynek now on board the project as a consultant, Spielberg did a rewrite to further develop the narrative.Jun 09, · Honestly the odds of Steven Spielberg or any other major Hollywood player reading an unsolicited script by an unknown writer is as close to zero as is possible.
The bottom line is that ideas for scripts and scripts are very common.
Agents and Managers mostly do not accept unsolicited queries and will usually either trash a script sent to them that has not been requested or just send it back. For advice on the most professional way to approach an agent or manager for representation for your screenwriting please read How To Get Literary Representation.
Learn how to get a screenwriting agent from former MGM film executive Stephanie Palmer. Screenplay agents are brokers who negotiate deals for screenwriters. Learn how to get a screenwriting agent from former MGM film executive Stephanie Palmer.
Home / Blog / How To Sell A Screenplay / Screenplay Agents: 7 Things Agents Want To See . Film is a collaborative medium. Everyone from the crew to the director is a storyteller. The screenwriter and screenplay are just the beginning. Some directors are masters of their craft, while others encompass the whole spectrum of cinematic storytelling with passion and vision.
Steven Spielberg is. Watch video · Steven Spielberg accepted no money for his work on Schindler's List, and instead donated his salary and all of his future profits from the movie to The Shoah Foundation.
Filmmaker, director and. Director Steven Spielberg has often tackled seminal historical events throughout his career. A history enthusiast, his knowledge of the Cold War dates back to childhood when his father told stories of the deep-seated feelings of animosity and distrust that existed between the U.S.
and Soviet Union, stories he still remembers today.