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This Movie Maker 2012 exercise teaches:

● How a protagonist whispers to her writer what others hear only at the end
● How to offer a character what he or she is still missing
● How to “seal the deal” with an audience in a memorable word, a look, or a gesture
● How to make an ending that bookends the beginning

( Movie Maker 2012 downloads free here if your Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS lacks this Windows Essentials software).

  1. Download these images. Each derives from a frame that helps end Casablanca. Yellow mist —instead of Rick—treads with Captain Renault towards darkness in "casa37.jpg."  
  2. View the images in sequence using Windows Media Player.  
  3. Note that, in the image sequence, Captain Renault, not Rick, appears to gun down Major Strasser. Victor Laslo nowhere strides towards the plane with Ilse. Renault departs by himself. The plane soars off with no identified passengers.  
  3. We want to get Rick onto the plane with Ilsa. ( In Casablanca, of course, Rick does the opposite). Before you write, "hear" what Rick and Ilse are saying to each other. In the image sequence, read their changing expressions .  
  4. Without strict attention yet to film script format best practices, shape the dialogue and action into a scene. Scripts describe what characters do and say, where and when they do it, and nothing else.  
  Begin your scene with a slugline. In ALL CAPS, indicate that the scene is exterior (EXT). It takes place at the AIRPORT. It is NIGHT. Your slugline should read like this: EXT. AIRPORT—NIGHT.  
  Scripts have no memory or foresight. They speak always in the present tense. (When you love them, characters in your mind's eye theater move and speak like actors moving on a brightly lit stage).  
  In ALL CAPS, the name of a character appears above dialogue the character delivers. A line of dialogue should look like this:  
I never thought I would lose you, Ilse, and I never have...Not in my heart...Not in that still small voice that speaks when all else is still.
  5. Like a rock climber reaching for a place to sink a piton, explore your way to your ending. "Seal the deal" by giving at last to Rick and Ilse whatever, in your view, they have been missing. When Rick awakens in the muddle of night, saying to himself, "If only I had...If only I were..." What does he ask for? Your script has been moving towards this point. Be the loving god you wish were real—give it to him.  
  6. You're almost there—only twenty or thirty drafts away from a finished script where the ending bookends the beginning. As it rises into flight, whose face do you see in the oval window of the airplane?