The Screenplay as a Blueprint

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The Screenplay as a Blueprint

Screenplays are often compared to blueprints, and for good reason. A blueprint for a house represents an architect's vision. It gives detailed information regarding a building's structure, proportions, and materials, enabling the work crew to see and build what the architect sees. Similarly, a screenplay conveys the screenwriter's vision and helps the reader—and later the film crew—see what the writer sees.

In the movie The Hudsucker Proxy (written by Ethan and Joel Coen and Sam Raimi), Tim Robbins plays a country hick intent on becoming a successful executive in 1940s New York. He shows his design for a new invention to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately, his blueprint consists only of a circle drawn on a piece of paper. "You know, for kids!" he announces, with an excited smile on his face. But nobody gets it. The board members of Hudsucker Industries think he's an idiot. They don't realize he's just invented the hula hoop, a craze about to sweep the country.

In his mind's eye, the Tim Robbins character had a clear vision, but his skimpy blueprint failed to communicate that vision. The script is your opportunity to communicate your vision. No producer will buy a screenplay if he can't see a movie unfolding in his mind's eye.



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