Thanksgiving means time with family members, some of whom we don’t get to see but once a year. Sure, you sit around the turkey table for your holiday meal, but what do you do once everyone is done eating? While some people may take a nap from all of that tryptophan, Thanksgiving is also a great time to check out some well-known Thanksgiving movies with family and friends.  Here are three movie suggestions that screenwriters may find of interest:

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987 – written and directed by John Hughes) This one is a Thanksgiving classic. John Candy and Steve Martin star in this comedy, and it centers around two mismatched people trying to get home to Chicago from New York City in time for Thanksgiving with their families.  While watching this film, take note of the simplicity of the story conflict.  As you pitch a screenplay, it’s essential to have an easy to describe plot. But at its core, this film is a classic because of the two opposite characters who are forced together under difficult circumstances.  Most of the conflict is character based.  If you want strong conflict in your script, force two incompatible characters together under great stress, and watch the sparks fly!

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986 – written and directed by Woody Allen) This is another movie with a Thanksgiving setting. Here, Woody Allen gives us a rare non-comedy, a drama about three sisters.  On Thanksgiving, Hannah, played by Mia Farrow, and her sisters get together in a Central Park West apartment for the holiday. There are plenty of plot twists and emotion in this Woody Allen classic. This Academy Award winner is a masterful study in the weaving of connecting story lines.  The lesson here is that all characters in your story must reach a pay off for their individual conflicts.  And ALL character plot lines must intersect in some powerfully dramatic way.

Scent of a Woman (1992 – screenplay by Bo Goldman, directed by Martin Brest) Chris O’Donnell is a prep school student who takes a job looking after a retired, blind Army officer (Al Pacino) over Thanksgiving weekend. The ad O’Donnell answers leaves out the detail that Pacino’s character is also a cantankerous alcoholic. Scent of a Woman is based on the Italian novel Darkness and Honey by Giovanni Arpino.  The theme here about the value of life and whether its worth living if you are seriously handicapped.  Screenwriters will benefit from this story by paying close attention to the unique inner journey of a suicidal character who ultimately finds his way back to connection with life through caring about other people.

Watching movies like these, among others, will help you to understand how powerful screenplays grow from the inner conflict of clearly defined characters.

Explained in my book, The Story Solution, is a completely unique approach to writing a movie script. The Hero Goal Sequencing paradigm offers 23 actions used in every successful movie to create dynamic heroes while linking the entire story together from start to finish.  The book maps out how to keep producers, agents, and audiences glued to their chairs. If you prefer video learning, you can get a taste of the concepts here.

Last month, we wrote about the The Scariest Ghost Movies of All Time, we’d love to hear your feedback.  Share your comments in the comment box.

Something else which I believe to be a newsworthy item to report; did you know that Michael Wiese Productions Launched a New Website?
Best selling screenwriting books

How very grateful I am to be associated with the publisher of my book The Story Solution: MICHAEL WIESE PRODUCTIONS.  MWP is the largest specialty publisher in the world for books on screenwriting, TV writing, directing, acting, editing, producing and all other aspects of filmmaking.  And MWP is headed up by two of my favorite people, Michael Wiese and Ken Lee. A veteran filmmaker himself, Michael Wiese founded MWP a while back by publishing a few books on his own, and then as MWP took off, Michael – along with Ken Lee – built it into the most respected screenwriting and filmmaking specialty publishing house anywhere, today offering hundreds of titles in some twenty different languages.


….and in case you missed it, I recently released a Hero Goal Sequence breakdown of “Finding Nemo” which you can download here.

“Back to the Future” and “Bridesmaids” are also available for download here.

Check out our audio clips to help you create characters for your stories. These audio files will help you learn how to create characters like the sidekick character, mentor character, and the love interest character.

Last but definitely not least, I am so pleased to announce that The Story Solution has partnered with Final Draft 10 – The worlds most popular screenwriting software!  The Story Solution’s Hero Goal Sequence paradigm is now a downloadable template included in Final Draft 10.


If you want to find out more about how you can write successful screenplays, check out my website and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

To my dear fans, friends, and family, I’d like to express a heart felt gratitude for your support over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Eric Edson

About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at https://www.thestorysolution.com/ to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting. Call (818) 677-7808 for information about writing a movie script.

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