Development Program : Staging as Applied to Presentation of Story and Gag Ideas

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From the collection of Hans Perk at A. Film L.A. and reprinted here with his permission.

[...] situation, might we not convey the idea to the audience a little stronger, instead of this crude way of presenting Snow White dead and the dwarfs around her crying? In the next ten years, we will get away from that, and use more subtle methods.

Another rather obvious thing -- could we not have recalled to the audience at that moment the touching prayer of "Bless the seven little men, who have been so kind to me, and make their dreams come true"? If we could have brought back to the minds of the audience at the bier scene the thought of that prayer, or the uneaten pies, I am confident that the sequence would have been much stronger from the standpoint of mood.

I would like you to tell me whether you think I am wrong or right, or offer and suggestions you have.

Q. In analyzing the situation, it is more fundamental than a single scene. It is the character construction up to that scene that makes it, regardless of what you stage within that scene itself. It is touching only as we have been convincing along the lines that Snow White has endeared herself to these seven little men. We got pretty shallow on that point. Considering that, it is amazing to me that the scene was as touching as it was. If we had made a point of including some interesting little touches where Snow White definitely endeared herself to certain of the dwarfs, that interest would make that scene. In looking back over the picture now, we find such things as the pies, rather than the things we might have found if we had had a few small instances ahead of this. For example, if we had had the soup sequence -- Grumpy, who had been thrown in the tub would come dripping up onto the porch and stop. We wouldn't make a lot of the soup eating, but Grumpy would sit on the porch, too humiliated to go in; the aroma of the soup would float out to him, making him more and more hungry, until finally Snow White would slip him a bowl of soup. Or to build into the bier scene, we might have shown Grumpy taking his hat off reverently outside the door, the dwarfs clearing their throats, then cut outside and show the candles burning over the bier, etc. We would hear the door squeak as it had before, so it played against the mood, and the squeak of the dwarfs' feet as they approached the bier, then see the huddled silhouette of the group. All that would have drawn you back through the memory of their experience with Snow White. What I am trying to say is that the real build-up is something fundamental throughout your story line, beyond just how much you can squeeze out of one scene when you get to it.

A. Yes. However I think if we found ourselves stuck with this bier scene, ten years from now, and were [...]