Mystery Man on Film: The “Raiders” Story Conference
125-page transcript from a week-long 1978 story conference between Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan, where they hashed out Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Monday, March 09, 2009 The “Raiders” Story Conference Hey, guys, you’re going to love this (and thanks, Viktor). There is a link now available to download the 125-page transcript (in the form of a .pdf document) of the original 1978 story conference between Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Lawrence Kasdan for a little film called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
JG: "Speaking of George Lucas, here’s an amazing find by Mystery Man on Film: a 125-page transcript from a week-long 1978 story conference between Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan, where they hashed out Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Sure, there's a 125 page document on the interwebs now that transcribes the meetings that Spielberg, Lucas, and Lawrence Kasdan had to plan out Raiders of the Lost Ark, but even better is this post chock-full of analysis (with examples) of that document, finding principles of storytelling, screenwriting, and collaboration. "7) No idea is a bad idea when you’re brainstorming. These guys were all over the place with ideas and there’s nothing wrong with that. As I mentioned earlier, many of the ideas discussed, like the plane crash sequence and mine cart chase, were used in the second film. So what helped determine which sequence should be kept and thrown away? Redundancies in concept. You already had a chase scene here, so why have another one here? Let’s come up with something different. You know? That kind of thing."
"There is a 125-page transcript of the original 1978 story conference between Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Lawrence Kasdan for a little film called Raiders of the Lost Ark. There were about 10 Screenwriting Lessons I took away from this experience and thought they might be worth sharing."
"So then they go back to figure out when and how you can setup the snake joke in the opening sequence. A lot of screenwriting is backtracking, of setups and payoffs."
Man-oh-man, Spielberg and Lucas were idea machines. They could’ve sat there coming up with Indiana Smith ideas forever. There were enough ideas generated in these meetings for two films, which they actually used for two films. I must say, it’s rather unusual to have meetings with a producer and a director and be given so many ideas. Not that meetings with producers and directors wouldn’t have a lot of ideas but I’m not sure you would encounter such a volume as this. For screenwriters, it’s a goldmine. If you try to forget the finished film and put yourself into Kasdan’s shoes and you have all these ideas thrown at you, it can be a daunting task. What do you keep? What do you throw away? How do you make all this work?