In 1978, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan met to discuss what would become their film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nearly a week of brainstorming later, and the three of them had generated ideas for not only that movie, but bits and pieces of Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade.
Want to learn a bunch of stuff, not just about Raiders, but screenwriting lessons as well? Read Mystery Man on Film's blog post analyzing and quoting from that transcript.
The transcript shows (to take one of so many examples) how the three of them developed the "Indy in the snake-filled chamber" scene, and how they settled on the threat in the chamber being snakes, and how they could set it up earlier in the film:
Steven Spielberg — It would be funny if, somewhere early in the movie he somehow implied that he was not afraid of snakes. Later you realize that that is one of his big fears.This transcript has come up in my experience before. Once on Harlan Ellison's online forum people were talking about the Indy films, and one guy was, in a very fake-eloquent way, completely talking out his ass about Raiders. Making it sound like he knew what he was talking about, this guy characterized Lucas as basically someone going "Durrrrrrrrr" whose hand was held by Spielberg through the entire making of Raiders; in other words, he was denying Lucas's role in making that film a classic. And in a so-satisfying moment, someone else chimed in and said, No. You're wrong. I know you're wrong because I've read that 1978 transcript. Lucas had a lot of that film already worked out before ever talking to Spielberg and Kasdan. The talking-out-his-ass guy, shall we say, didn't argue: he knew he was wrong. That's also how I found that Indiana Jones's first proposed name was Indiana Smith.
George Lucas — Maybe it's better if you see early, maybe in the beginning that he's afraid: "Oh God, I hate those snakes." It should be slightly amusing that he hates snakes, and then he opens this up, "I can't go down in there. Why did there have to be snakes? Anything but snakes." You can play it for comedy…