I am galeophobic.
In other words I’m scared shitless of sharks. So, you can imagine my distress on reading Exercise 1 in Scriptwriting: An introduction to screenwriting, that I have to watch that scene from Jaws:
‘Police Chief Martin Brody is reluctantly feeding bait into the water. We see him smoking a cigarette and shooting dirty looks at Quint, captain of the boat. Suddenly, an enormous Great White, its teeth bared, surges out of the ocean towards Brody. Brody jumps backwards. Still smoking, his eyes never leaving the water, he retreats slowly to the wheelhouse where he delivers the unforgettable line, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”’
Yes, I know the shark is plastic and now somewhat dated but I just can’t bear them…not even cartoon versions. Finding Nemo was a nightmare. 1 hour and 40 minutes spent with my hands in front of my eyes. My poor (young at the time) daughter thought I was mad! Well, I was during that. Sharks are so menacing!
So, I somehow plucked up the courage, with the help of my husband to watch the scene via YouTube. In all it is 35 seconds. That’s it…35 seconds! There’s about 9 seconds of dialogue, 20 seconds of reaction after the Great White appears and literally 2 seconds of the Great White baring its teeth…I’m shaking just writing this.
On watching (between fingers) such an iconic scene, seconds seem like hours; there’s so much going on that one doesn’t think about time at all. In a movie like Jaws you are gripped (no pun intended) from start to finish.
Writing a 15 minute screenplay is daunting. I have to consider my character’s thoughts and feelings through images, action and dialogue. I must train my mind to think visually, read as many scripts as I can and spend hours watching movies. Including Jaws…gulp!
Already I’m reading the script of Little Miss Sunshine (screenplay by Michael Arndt) and enjoying the interaction of the characters on the page. I have seen the movie and look forward to watching it again for my work on Part 4 of the course.
As I continue to plough through each exercise, I will write about films I have watched and scripts I have read. Most importantly though, my screenplay will be journaled throughout.
Wow! Did I just write ‘my screenplay?’ Here’s hoping…