Film 5: Scripted One-Take

NAME: Brittany Hanson


PLAN DUE DATE: 15 March, 2018


DP: Aaron Fisher





This statement of intent is designed to train your mind, eye and heart to shoot purposefully. Prepare it well before shooting. Briefly—but thoughtfully and specifically—answer the following questions.


  1. Fill out the Director’s Schedule Worksheet and attach it.
  2. What film or TV show is this from?When Harry Met Sally 
    1. Have you ever watched this film?No
    2. Do you have the actual script of the film—not a transcript?Yes
  3. The world of the story (If the answers aren’t clear in the script, you must make the specific decisions!):
    1. Where does this story take place?The story mostly takes place in New York City. However, the scene I am shooting takes place at the University of Chicago campus.
    2. In what year does this story take place—be as specific as possibleThe story (and my scene) happens in 1977 as Harry and Sally graduate from college. However, the film takes place over a span of 11 years.
    3. In what month or season does this story take place?This scene takes place in/around June (late spring, early summer) – graduation time. The whole story spans 11 years and takes place in various months/seasons.
    4. Briefly describe the world—its rules, social dynamics, historical context (if it takes place in the real world, include some major world events of the time), anything else that might be relevant to telling this story. Do a bit of research if necessary.Harry and Sally graduate on the brink of a massive decade for pop culture entertainment: 1977 alone is memorable for Star Wars, the release of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, Annie Hall, the evolution of punk and the rise of new wave music. Social dynamics were also evolving rapidly: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act was only three years old, the ban some states still had against females serving jury duty had only been lifted two years prior, and females still wouldn’t have the opportunity to become an astronaut for two more years. From sports to careers to personal finances, women were just barely being recognized by law as true citizens – and of course, wider acceptance on a day-today basis with the individuals one interacts with often takes much longer, since people’s beliefs don’t often change overnight, even if laws do. These real-world social dynamics are especially interesting to note in a film that explores whether men and women can be just friends.
  4. For each of the major characters in the story (if the characters in your scene are not major characters, you should also include them below):
    1. What is their full name?
    2. How old are they?
    3. Give a brief descriptive biography of these characters (what they look like—if it’s not in the script, what you think they look like, what is their personality, what is their inner life, what are some insights about their growing up, etc.):
Sally Albright 21 “Very pretty, but not necessarily in an obvious way.” A dignified, precise, want-to-be journalist who yearns for something interesting and worthwhile to happen in her life: That’s why she’s moving to New York.
Harry Burns 26 “Jeans and a sweatshirt” law school graduate. He’s smart but prefers to act casually and spontaneously. He’s a bit of a rascal.
Amanda 20 “Long straight hair that she irons” – one of those naïve young college women who romanticize troubled men and fall passionately in love with the idea of love.


  1. After reading the entire script, in 3-5 sentences, what is the story—the beginning, middle and ending—of the entire film?Harry and Sally meet when Sally picks him up as a favor to her friend, to drive to New York to start their post-college lives (separately). They argue about whether men and women can just be friends. Over the next eleven years, they meet through chance again multiple times, and eventually attempt friendship while pursuing other relationships – but in the end, they fall in love.


  1. After reading the entire script, what is the theme or message of this film? (The theme is what the story means, it has a point of view. It is not a single word. It takes a position.)Men and women really do need each other after all – they fill gaps in their lives beyond a casual friendship type of relationship. (I’m going to be honest, I haven’t read the entire script from beginning to end yet, but I’m getting through it).


  1. In 3-4 sentences, what happened in the story immediately before your selected scene?

    An elderly couple sit on a couch. They discuss how they met, and how long they have been together (50 years). It is part of documentary footage.
  2. In 3-4 sentences, what is the story—the beginning, middle, and end—of this scene? In other words, what happens as the scene starts, as the action rises, and as it ends?Amanda and Harry kiss melodramatically. Sally pulls up in a car, waits for the kiss to end, and finally honks the horn to break up the couple. Harry is introduced to Sally, packs his things into the car, and the couple begin their never-ending goodbyes until Sally has to honk again to break them up. Harry and Sally drive off, the couple still waving their goodbyes.


  1. How does this scene develop or advance the plot?

We are introduced to the two main characters for the first time. We see that Sally is the sort of person who won’t put up with things she doesn’t have the patience for. She can stand on her own two feet. We learn that Harry was in a relationship with a much younger college student – and while he seemed to enjoy it, he was still willing to leave.

  1. Briefly describe each character’s journey in the scene and how this scene impacts them. Specifically: How are they at the beginning of the scene? What do they do in the scene? What happens to them in the scene? How are they at the end of the scene? Why?


Sally Ready to get on the road. Breaks up a kiss by honking the car horn: Twice.

Offers Harry the first driving shift, shakes his hand.

Is forced to wait while the couple go through melodramatic goodbyes, is introduced to Harry. Impatient: This random guy has held up her road trip twice to kiss Amanda, and it’s annoying. She’s beginning to dread and maybe regret agreeing to drive her friend’s boyfriend to New York.
Harry Completely involved with kissing Amanda. Exchanges kisses and “I love you’s” with Amanda, shakes Sally’s hand, suggests she takes the first driving shift since she’s already in the driver’s seat, packs up his things, promises to call Amanda. Has his goodbyes interrupted twice with a car horn, is introduced to Sally, is asked to call Amanda. Melodramatic/sappy to Amanda, but fairly carefree for having just said goodbye to someone he was in a relationship with.
Amanda Completely involved with kissing Harry. Kisses Harry, exchanges “I love you’s”, introduces Harry to Sally, begs Harry to call her even before he gets to New York. Has her goodbyes interrupted twice with a car horn, is left behind by the guy she’s madly in love with. Already issing Harry like crazy, eager to hear any word from him as soon as possible.


  1. Describe the specific story details and/or character insights that must be clear to the audience in this scene in order to understand, remain oriented and engaged in the scene (as well as in the rest of the film). Describe the specific moments/details that you must be sure to shoot in order to communicate each piece of information? (Assume the audience will have seen the film up to this point, therefore, these are details the audience must see and that you must shoot in this scene in order for the scene to effectively serve its purpose.)
Harry is leaving his university with Sally. Packed car with boxes of possessions: records, a TV, boxes of books, suit cases, duffel bags. Harry loads his own stuff into the car.
Harry and Sally just met each other for the first time: Their mutual friend is Amanda. Harry and Sally shake hands; “nice to meet you”; it’s Amanda who makes the introduction.
Harry’s relationship with Amanda isn’t all that serious; she’s just some melodramatic madly-in-love young college student: Their goodbyes should come across as funny rather than heartbreaking. Harry and Amanda’s goodbyes are pretty one-note: Just kisses and goodbyes that come across as entertainingly melodramatic, not genuinely emotional. Their behavior should suggest that they are starry-eyed about each other, but that there are no signs of deeper feelings on Harry’s part. No overwhelming sense of melancholy in his behavior, no tears. He’s able to act pretty matter-of-fact about this big change in his life in between his kisses with Amanda.
Harry and Amanda were college students –Harry is leaving a university. Recognizable university building/sign; maybe Amanda wears a university t-shirt, maybe Harry’s things contain random college paraphernalia. One of his boxes of books could contain law textbooks.


  1. Reread what you wrote above for the theme of this story. Keeping that in mind, how does this scene explore the theme of the film? Be specific.Harry is immediately introduced in a relationship – so when he leaves his girlfriend in Chicago, there’s a gap in his life. It implies that Sally, the girl who is forced to sit next to him/get to know him on the long drive to New York could potentially fill that gap – and the major question of the film is “Can men and women just be friends?” especially when they aren’t in relationships and that gap isn’t filled.
  2. What is the tension of this scene? This is the question that the audience is asking themselves as the scene begins and makes them participate in the story by anticipating what may or may not happen. The scene’s tension must be specific to this It should begin with “Will _____?” “Will Moss be ready for Chighur’s ambush?”)Will Sally ever get on the road (and get Harry to separate himself from Amanda?)
  3. A good scene is an emotional journey. What progression of emotions do you want the audience to experience during this scene? Why? What, specifically, will you shoot to do this?  




Blech – college student PDA, melodramatic/cheesy “I love you’s” Evidence of college campus (sign/building): Focus on the couple totally unaware of anything else but each other – hold the focus on them for a few beats, just long enough to feel how ridiculous this looks.
Empathy…. then “Hahaha, yes!” Focus on Sally when she drives up – watch her watch the couple (she’s the stand-in for the audience at this point as an outsider watching this uncomfortably long public display of affection.) Dolly in close to watch her lean her elbow on the horn to “accidentally-on-purpose” honk the horn.
Understanding/curiosity – figuring out that Harry is leaving with Sally even though he doesn’t know her, wondering where they’re going, who these people are. Harry’s stuff being loaded into the car– Harry’s law textbooks in a box that hasn’t been folded, maybe a sloppily-packed, partially unzipped duffel bag
Back to “blech” – we empathize with Sally, who is feeling impatient. Starry-eyed Amanda and Harry’s longing looks, Sally’s expression watching them
Amusement/relief The couple breaks apart at the sound of the car horn. Have Sally start the car almost before Harry’s fully closed the door.


  1. First and last images and why:


First A university sign Introduce the setting: College campus.
Last Car driving away Focus on the beginning of a journey, not the ending of one. (Not looking back at Amanda.) Also show Sally’s urgency to get on the road.


  1. Why is this scene personal to you? What specific personal experience(s) in your own life does it remind you of?I honestly think PDA is the most annoying thing – not because I’m anti-romance, but boy are people unintentionally obnoxious when they’re in love! I’m reminded of the times in high school when I was in a rush to get to my locker in between classes only to find two lovebirds directly in the way, leaning against my locker kissing sloppily. I remember having to be that impatient person who really doesn’t care at the moment how in love someone is and who really just wants to get a move on. It’s no fun in the moment, but it’s pretty funny to witness in a film. I would have loved to have a car horn to honk like Sally at some of those people who were too infatuated to hear a polite “excuse me” or a quiet clearing of the throat. Go Sally!
  2. Use evocative language to describe the lighting in this scene.
    a) How should it feel? (Include specific terms: Hard, Soft, High Key, Low Key, High Contrast, Low Contrast, Graduated Tonality, Top, Under, Side)
    High key rom-com.b) Reread what you wrote above for both the theme and the tension of this scene. How does your choice of lighting reflect, strengthen and/or emphasize the theme and tension?

    It renders the behavior amusing; lack of shadows and darkness avoids suggestion of melancholy or heartbreak. This isn’t a heartbreaking conclusion to the film’s question, it’s just the beginning, the prerequisite to posing it.

    c) Technically, what equipment might you need to achieve this look and feel?

    I’d like to use the natural softer light of morning since the scene takes place outdoors – have flags and bounces to shape the light.

    d) Include a couple of sample image(s). (Not from the actual film!)

    Harry wears jeans and a sweatshirt. Every aspect of him is chill/casual.

    Sally wears 80s-style blazers and pants – more casual and not matching in color/fabric because it’s a road-trip, not a business meeting, but she still expresses a certain dignity – she takes herself and her appearance seriously, in contrast to Harry.

  3. Select the two specific visual elements* you will use to purposefully communicate the emotion of the scene. (You will be graded on your execution of this plan.) How will you utilize the principles of contrast and infinity of these components to help build intensity in your purposeful telling of this story?
Shape Sally = triangle. Dynamic, sharp, maybe a little rigid. Straight, dignified posture, triangles on neatly pressed blazer lapels

Harry = kinda slouchy oval, not necessarily in body type, but in dress. His sweatshirt and jeans are baggy rather than fitted.

Sally’s and Harry’s styles should contrast – one evokes dignity/precision/ practicality and the other evokes a more casual/carefree/spontaneous personality.
Space  I want to try some flat space when I’m trying to evoke Harry’s mentality the second time they start kissing – he isn’t seeing Sally, her desire to get on the road, or anything else besides Amanda, and the flat space created by a shallow depth of field will help create that.

Deep space when the car drives off: The start of a journey/a long road ahead.

Contrast: When looking at the couple from Sally’s perspective, the space should be less flat – to her, it’s just an obnoxious public display of affection that looks ridiculous from the outside, and it’s impeding the start of her journey.

*The specific visual elements are: line, shape, space, tone, color, rhythm, movement

  1. Describe three or four potential obstacles you may face in creating a successful scene. Describe how can you be prepared to overcome these? Be specific!
Actors comfortable with acting like a melodramatic, passionate couple. Try to find a real-life couple to cast, send out casting call ASAP.
A place on campus a car can drive up to and stop multiple times without blocking traffic. Shoot on a Friday or Saturday when campus is less busy, get permission, start location scouting this weekend.
Car that works for the scene that the actor playing Sally is comfortable with driving/owner capable of lending if necessary Talk to whoever I cast as Sally to make sure she’s comfortable driving whatever vehicle we end up using. If the actor’s car won’t work for the part, find out ASAP so that I can borrow one that will.

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