Script Analysis: “La La Land” — Part 4: Themes

Read the script for the Oscar nominated movie and analyze it all this week.

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this bi-weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Themes.

I have this theory about theme. In two parts. First, a principle: Theme = Meaning. What does the story mean? Second, while there is almost always a Central Theme, there are multiple other Sub-Themes at play in a story. Therefore the question, What does a story mean takes on several layers of meaning?

Time to ponder themes in La La Land. You can download a PDF of the script here.

Written by Damien Chazelle.

Plot summary: La La Land tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan Gosling], a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

Writing Exercise: Explore the themes in La La Land. What is its Central Theme? What are some of the related Sub-Themes?

Major kudos to Sharita Gopal for doing this week's scene-by-scene breakdown.

To download a PDF of the breakdown for La La Land, go here.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read Major Plot Points, go here.

For Part 3, to read Characters, go here.

Tomorrow we shift our focus to the script's dialogue.

Seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!

I hope to see you in the RESPONSE section about this week's script: La La Land.


Script Analysis: "La La Land" — Part 4: Themes was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

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