Brainstorming RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Check out this great find: a 125-page transcript of a conversation between Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Lawrence Kasdan that resulted in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We found it through our old friend Spyboy, who found it through Mystery Man on Film, who also includes 10 Screenwriting Lessons he took from reading the transcript. Our two favorites: 6) Consider their approach to exposition; and 7) No idea is a bad idea when you’re brainstorming.

Here’s a bit more of what Mystery Man on Film has to say about #6:

So Indy’s in Cairo with his friend. We’re at a scene that we know will be full of exposition, that is, the Staff of Ra was too long for the Germans and they’re digging in the wrong place. So the question was, “what are we going to do to make the scene interesting so the audience doesn’t fall asleep?” And the idea was presented that this exposition could be done over dinner that’s been poisoned. As they pick up tainted food and gesture with it, we fear for their lives. They loved it. (And I’ve been saying this for years — great exposition is always given in the context of something else.)

Great, great points here, and an illuminating look into the thought process behind an amazing film.