'National Treasure 2' Trailer is Great Tutorial for Screenwriting

November 1, 2007

national-treasure-trailer.jpg

How to write a National Treasure movie, as demonstrated in this new trailer to National Treasure: Book of Secrets:

1. Go by a screenwriting name that sounds like a PBS cartoon family. Book of Secrets is written by The Wibberleys, but something like The Flutentoots is fine too. Just make sure that saying it evokes the image of goofy animated morality tales and bright colors.

2. Get a 7th grade history textbook and, starting from a paragraph of your choice, create the craziest "what if" scenario you can think of. Don't be afraid to push the boundaries of your imagination into the realm of deeply insane or unfathomably stupid. That's actually encouraged.

3. Using the same textbook, flip to a random page and create another crazy scenario loosely based on a fact or term you find. If you're having trouble, look for something bolded.

4. Combine the two ideas. At this point, you should probably have something along the lines of "What if Batman read in the diary of John Wilkes Booth that his great-grandfather helped assassinate Lincoln, and what if a giant robot had to kidnap a U.S. president to get a book of every secret ever from him?

5. Like a bologna and cheese sandwich, when layered, these ideas will still look distinct and mismatched. Merge the crazy notions by replacing non-historical figures with Nicolas Cage. (Batman and a giant robot are just as viable options, but cost more than Nicolas Cage.)

6. Stretch your tissue thin idea into a two-hour screenplay. Pepper it with the pseudo-humor used by annoying uncles. Things like thinking it's funny to pretend you're hurt for a second, or pulling a book of secrets from behind someone's ear.

7. Well, you're done. If it hurts you to read, you probably did it right. And don't worry about any holes in the logic. Once Jerry Bruckheimer gets a hold of your masterpiece, he'll make it such a daze of explosions and car chases that no one will ever notice.

Thanks to Kyle for the tip.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets [Yahoo!]

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