Screenplay Action

NUMBERING

Just as you carefully name your characters, places, and just about everything else in your screenplay, you should also carefully select the numbers you use. Consideration of street addresses, ages, phone numbers, et cetera for dramatic effect can be as important as careful naming.

Consider how numbers are used to enhance the movies you watch . .

When you watch movies, consider the phone numbers, street addresses, and everything else that contains a number. Do you think these were chosen at random? What meaning are they trying to relay?

Number carefully to enhance meaning in your own movie . .

A license number, a clock face, the page of a calendar. All of these can be highly efficient and economical ways of relaying meaning to the viewers of your movie. While impressing Hollywood readers that you really know what you're doing (not to mention helping to speed their job of finding "The Next Big Thing" . . you). Why waste a single drop of ink that can be used to establish mood, enhance anticipation, accent theme, or emphasize irony?

Resources to help you number more effectively . .

  1. Numerology for Beginners by Gerie Bauer.
  2. Numerology: Basics from About.com.
  3. The Dreamtime Numerology Page.
  4. numerology-free.com with a free online course.



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EXERCISES:
  1. What is the "proper" briefcase combination in the opening scene of PULP FICTION (1994). Why?
  2. What does the odometer read just before turning over in LOLITA (1997)? Why? Why does Humbert die in mid-November? Why does Lolita die on Christmas day?
  3. What's with all the sixes and sevens in ABOUT SCHMIDT (2002)?
  4. What time does the alarm clock turn over from and to in ADAPTATION (2002)? Why?
  5. Why does short story authoress Annie Proulx set BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) in 1963 (a few possible reasons)? Why the repeated focus on November (several possible reasons)? Why the emphasis on a character age of "19"?
  6. BONUS: What does the house address in the opening footage of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990) relate to?