Writer’s Style: Walter Hill

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7O34FUVH25Q3AQEW7PQQOF2U64 English Guru

    You may want to try Spell Checker Tool where it checks not just spelling but also grammar, punctuation, writing style, and a lot more! http://www.spellcheckertool.com FREE DOWNLOAD! ^_^

  • Stephen

    Brilliant post – Hill’s long been one of my favourite directors, this is the best ever look at his writing that I’ve read.

  • http://twitter.com/stevendeedon stevendeedon

    It’s reallly frustrating, in fact, annoying, what you put this up making a big deal out Point Blank, with no link to a PDF of it.
    I hope you’ll arrange to get a PDF for MyPDFScripts and the rest of us.

    Steve
    stevendeedon@gmail.com

  • http://twitter.com/stevendeedon stevendeedon

    It’s reallly frustrating, in fact, annoying, that you put this up making a big deal out Point Blank, with no link to a PDF of it.
    I hope you’ll arrange to get a PDF for MyPDFScripts and the rest of us.

    Steve
    stevendeedon@gmail.com

  • http://twitter.com/stevendeedon stevendeedon

    It’s very frustrating, even annoying that you post this with a big emphasis on Point Blank, without making it available.
    I hope you can follow up and do this.

    • http://www.mypdfscripts.com mypdfscripts

      You’re telling me. I’ve been trying to track the script down for the better part of a year now… to no avail.

    • http://www.mypdfscripts.com mypdfscripts

      You’re telling me. I’ve been trying to track the script down for the better part of a year now… to no avail.

      • Kitty Pohrn

        I ran into a guy not that long ago that mentioned he might have Point Blank in his script collection (I remember you requesting this over at PDFS when that was still up). I’m just hoping he didn’t confuse my request for Grosse Point Blank. haha. Anyways, I will contact you if it ever surfaces. Love love love me some Walter Hill, so I greatly appreciate this article. He was also a big inspiration in the way I write. I love LEAN writing, and can’t imagine myself writing any differently now.

      • Kitty Pohrn

        I ran into a guy not that long ago that mentioned he might have Point Blank in his script collection (I remember you requesting this over at PDFS when that was still up). I’m just hoping he didn’t confuse my request for Grosse Point Blank. haha. Anyways, I will contact you if it ever surfaces. Love love love me some Walter Hill, so I greatly appreciate this article. He was also a big inspiration in the way I write. I love LEAN writing, and can’t imagine myself writing any differently now.

    • pilgrimpictures

      However, be thankful that the study has been done here for you. Awesome job myPDFscripts!

  • Anonymous

    Great post!

  • Chris Naughton

    Great article. Can you provide examples of other Lean writers and/or Lean scripts?

  • Rbrowne

    I read the Hard Times script many, many years ago and was just as impressed by its leanness as you are. I had never seen so much said in so few words. I still marvel at its economy. It’s also one of Charles Bronson’s best movies.

  • http://jasoncuthbert.blogspot.com/ Jason

    Awesome article! I feel like I have just read a condensed yet informative history lesson on an incredible screenwriter who not a lot has been written about.

    I agree – less is more. I would currently consider my writing style a “Moderate”, but after reading this I am definitely inspired to get closer to the “Lean” level. Thank you!

  • http://www.writethemovieyoulove.com Ted Shuttleworth

    Great post. The Alien script has always been my template for LEAN. Glad to see it included here.
    Looking forward to reading Point Blank!

  • MARLOWE

    Ironically you can FIND ONE PAGE of JACOBS’ script to POINT BLANK online in an article about the film. I dont recall where I read it but it was MUCH closer to a combination of MODERATE and LEAN than LEAN…At least the page they had reproduced…Also JACOBS rewrote a script previously done by DAVID AND RAFE NEWHOUSE (KLUTE) who were earlier writers…

    • John Molina

      And Jacobs wrote the first draft to the underrated FRENCH CONNECTION II, for which he received a WGA nom for original screenplay along with the Dillons.  Jacobs also wrote an early version of GODFATHER III.

  • MARLOWE

    Anyway I read that one page of POINT BLANK

  • Malinda Nel

    Oh, my goodness! How exciting! To be read again and again.

  • Nitro1976

    The very best scripts for me (in terms of writing style) are the ones that instantly create an image in your mind’s eye.

    I’m not a fan of the lean/haiku style, because more often than not it is tiring to read, instead of pleasant.

    It works fairly well with ‘action’-descriptions like:

    An elevator door opens.

    He steps out.

    He looks at his surroundings.

    But it does not work well with descriptions where you want to see the complete image in one go. Example:

    INT. ENGINE CUBICLE

    Circular, jammed with instruments.

    All of them idle.

    Console chairs for two.

    Empty.

    Here, the images are formed one by one, while it’s much more effective and pleasant when the image is formed in one go.

    Why should I first imagine instruments and THEN that they’re idle? Why should I first imagine a chair and then it’s empty?

    What makes more sense — this?

    Imagine a chair.

    It’s empty.

    Or this?

    Imagine an empty chair.

    I strongly prefer the second one. We want the image of an empty chair. Not of a chair which turns out to be empty.

    I would rewrite the first scene as follows.

    INT. ENGINE CUBICLE

    The cubicle is circular, jammed with instruments — all of them idle.

    The console chairs are empty.

    Just as sparse, but easier to read.

    I personally like lean/moderate and moderate scripts. The best examples for me are The Bourne identity and the Aliens script (Cameron).

    My 2 cts.

  • http://www.gingerbreadgirlproductions.com/ Ashley Lynch

    Awesome article.  For me it was Shane Black’s scripts, showing that the writing process could be filled with all sorts of fun and flavor that would never end up on the screen except in spirit.  Reading a script shouldn’t feel like a chore and having fun with the reader isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  • John Molina

    Take a look at Trespass or Undisputed, lean, tough, everysingle scene has to do with the story.  The fat has already been trimmed.

  • jasmine sen gupta

    from this article i came to undrestand writing style. have not more idea of script but be frank like to say this article shake mind .one thing appericate about writing.writing is like a deep sea without end..