Chetspeak on Sunday
Nixon took a sip, glanced at some pages on the table. “Don’t tell me you’re working on a screenplay?” he said.
Bernie shook his head. “Don’t even know how to read the goddamn thing.” He picked up a page. “What’s INT?”
“Interior,” Nixon said. “INT or EXT, lead item in every slug line in a script.”
“Slug line?” said Bernie.
Nixon leaned over, pointed to the top of the page Bernie was holding. “Right here, after Fade In. Fade in is how you start a movie. Then comes the first scene – interior, bedroom, night. After that they put in what’s going on, like here – a man tosses in his sleep. Then see here? Cut to. That’s how they get to the next scene.”
“That’s a whole scene?” Bernie said. “A guy tosses in his sleep?”
“All depends on how it’s handled,” Nixon said. “Film’s a director’s medium – gotta keep that in mind. Take the cigarette lighting scene in Now Voyager – what would that look like on the page? Zip. But on the screen … well, there are some things you never forget.”
“Now Voyager,” said Bernie. “That’s Bette Davis?”
“Shit, yeah,” said Nixon. “And Paul Henried – he did the cigarette thing.”
“Forgot you were a fan.”
“A fan of a particular period, Bernie. Ain’t been acting like hers outta Hollywood, before or since.”
Bernie poured more bourbon in both their glasses.
– from A FISTFUL OF COLLARS.
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