But those were only half of the screenplay writing techniques I learned. As a romantic comedy junkie, I’ve seen my fair share of falling in love montages. But later, the morning after the first time they’ve slept together, Anna, this world-famous actress becomes just a vulnerable girl: ANNA Rita Hayworth used to say–‘they go to bed with Gilda–they wake up with me.’ Do you feel that? ANNA Her most famous part–men went to bed with the dream–and they didn’t like it when they woke up with the reality–do you feel that way with me? Well, I’ve got what the script doctor ordered: Yesterday, I wrote about some of the screenwriting tips I learned by comparing the screenplay to the movie version released in theaters. There’s nothing to prevent you from using both techniques. There’s a montage of William and Anna doing all these lovey-dovey things in London, set to the tune of Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All. Finally, he gets out: CAL (CONT’D) You sound like such a LOSER! Fine, fine, nothing out of the ordinary here, so let’s move on to another duo: Hannah and Jacob. A good second act is a tight chain of cause and effect. It’s also important because you have to why Emily’s worth fighting for. I’m going to move onto Hannah and Jacob’s relationship for a little bit. He knows how to score with women, and he does so unapologetically. We see why Cal vows never to stop fighting for her, instead of cutting his losses, and marrying somebody new. Just wanted to let you know: I’m calling from my Dad’s cell phone, at my Dad’s house, where shortly, my Mom is going to be arriving so my dad can pull out the stops and win back her heart. It was nice knowing you, stop sending flowers, stop writing notes, have a nice life. This phone call works because learning that Jacob has finally lost his heart is immensely satisfying. It speaks volumes about the current state of their relationship.If you change one of the causes, you change its effect (and vice versa). This allows Fogelman to have some fun with his character. If you come home with me, I am confident I’ll give you multiple orgasms. Yes, this screenwriting tip appears yet again–even in a script which sold for two million dollars. He heads into the bathroom with the phone, closes the door. I’m 90% sure this call was eliminated from the movie. After a string of unanswered phone calls, Cal finally makes contact with Jacob, who announces he’s meeting Hannah’s parents. It’s important to set up that Jacob’s serious about Hannah and for Cal to know it, because that makes the climactic scene at the end a hundred times more intense. Finally, my favorite phone call scene is the one between Cal tending the garden, while Emily is inside their house, pretending to need help with fixing the water heater. I’ve raved about it in screenwriting tips #2 and #3, so clearly I’m not 100% against phone calls! Another phone call which worked well because of irony (of a different sort), is a scene in RED where Karl Urban’s character, Cooper, chats to his family acting like the perfect suburban dad.
So…how do you improve on a script which sold for two million dollars? If Hannah is 29, then Cal had Hannah when he was 15. But when Fogelman changed Hannah’s age with a few keystrokes, he may’ve forgotten that this change would also impact the age at which Cal and Tracy had Hannah. The date with David Lindhagen, and Emily’s subsequent return home where Jessica refuses her “slutty money” wasn’t in the script. And when we do, when I’m through with you, that wife of yours is going to rue the day she decided to give up on you too early. (If she isn’t, then you get box office results on par with those of Something Borrowed.) In screenwriting tip #2, I mentioned that Emily doesn’t have a lot of screentime. Apparently, she left it in his car during their date. Crazy Stupid Love has examples of the good kind too.
Though it refuses to be reduced to a simple, one-sentence pitch, “Crazy, Stupid’s” various storylines revolve around the shattered love life of happily married Cal (Carell), who has a midlife crisis foisted upon him when Emily (Julianne Moore), his wife of nearly 30 years, files for divorce. As written by Dan Fogelman (a Disney-Pixar vet whose credits include “Tangled” and “Cars”) and directed by tonal tightrope walkers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“I Love You Phillip Morris”), Cal is the heart-on-his-sleeve sort, prone to candid declarations of love and other sentimental gestures.
Still, he doesn’t put up a fight when Emily breaks the bad news.
Obviously, it had to be really good for Steve Carell to attach himself to the project, which in turn, led to its incredible selling price. A rather flustered Emily asks Jessica if her daughter, Molly, gave Jessica a hard time with her broccoli, while Robbie focuses on extracting information from Cal. Not only did Emily have lines, drawing our attention to her as well as to Cal, she was operating in classic avoidance mode, lending more authenticity to her character. Maybe all my friends have abandoned me for wives and children and labradoodle puppies, who cares why? The point is, you’ve got a good face, and a good head of hair, and I’m bored as hell and need a project.
I thought Carell was it…and I became really curious about the script. Contrast this scene with the way it played out in the movie.