Hollywood @ Your Library

Hollywood is what dreams are made of, that hasn’t changed since the very first feature films were made. Why not use that dream to encourage more people to visit your library? Hollywood @ Your Library would be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to children that reading and writing is how dreams becoming reality on the big screen.

WRITING FOR HOLLWOOD would be set up on the display table at the library entrance. To make it easy for children to understand how the writing process flows, place material left to right: the source material, the screenplay and the DVD/Blu-ray cases. An example would be the Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) screenplay and the movie case. The English Patient (1996) display would include the novel, the screenplay and the movie case. To demonstrate the variety of material used, you could also include All the President’s Men (1976)  for adaptation of a non-fiction book and A Few Good Men (1992) as an adaptation of a play for live theatre.  You might need a separate table for books on writing screenplays by authors like John Truby, Robert McKee and Linda Seger.

Note: Since not all libraries have a large selection of screenplays, this problem could be solved with some coordination between libraries and inter-library loans. If Town A had their Hollywood At The Library on July 15th and Town B had their event on August 5th, that would allow enough time for the materials to transfer between libraries. Although it’s not the only source, the Newmarket Press Shooting Script Series has a wide selection of screenplays.

THE HOLLYWOOD EXPERIENCE is an opportunity for local filmmakers to discuss what is involved in making a movie. The library would set up a schedule when individuals with various skill sets could talk about the roles they’ve played in making films. Keep it short, perhaps 20 minutes per speaker, so there is always a fresh face at the microphone. If there aren’t any filmmakers living in your community, another option would be to invite people who have been Movie Extras/Background Performers to speak about their experience on a movie set.

READ THE LINES Audience members would be invited to read several lines from a movie script. Once the readings are finished, show the movie. The Truman Show (1998) doesn’t include nudity or extreme violence, but it would be up to librarians to use discretion in choosing the screenplay to use. Librarians always seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place; protecting freedom of expression, while trying to respect community standards

THE HOLLYWOOD FUN QUIZ is an activity for members of all ages, so it’s important to include questions that are easy for children to answer and some more challenging questions for adults as well. One of the best sources for the quiz would be the Internet Movie Data Base: http://www.imdb.com.

Soundtrack Clips: Titanic (1997), Frozen (2013)

Adaptation or Original Screenplay: Avatar (2009)/Original,  Arrival (2016)/Adaptation

Who is speaking?: Show the image of a well known character, such as Donkey from Shrek (2001), and have the audience guess who did the voiceover – Eddie Murphy

What Year?: Star Wars (1977), Cars (2006)

I hope that librarians will enjoy reading this blog and find it helpful.  I’ve been writing screenplays for about fifteen years, and it all started when I picked a screenplay off a library bookshelf, just out of curiosity.

J. Paul Cooper









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