Nebraska a funny, deeply moving script worth reading

My brother Wayne Frazier and his friend Natalie Lipka are co-hosts of an awesome weekly podcast Hollywood Close-up. Each episode features an interview with movie and TV industry types, from  actors to screenwriters to casting agents and more.

I’m particularly interested in the screenwriting aspect of the movie biz. Followers of my blog know that I recently read more than 160 scripts as a volunteer script reader for the first-ever Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competition. The experience has been more than rewarding as I’ve learned so much about what to do and what not to do, all of which I hope will translate into a solid script of my own to pitch to Hollywood one day.

So, it was with great interest that I listened to this week’s show, which featured none other than Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Robert Nelson, the author of the screenplay for Nebraska. It’s Nelson’s first feature film script, although he’s done a lot of work in TV, and it was great to hear him tell his story on my brother’s podcast.

I was inspired enough to visit one of my favorite WordPress sites, LA Screenwriter, which has links to all the Academy Award scripts on its site. I quickly found the link to Nebraska and downloaded it, then read the entire 101-page script. (It sounds like a lot, but scripts are actually pretty quick reads.)

It’s a funny, deeply moving story about an elderly man who believes he is the winner of a million dollar lottery and sets off to collect his winnings. His 40-year-old son accompanies him, even though he knows his father’s letter is really nothing more than one of those magazine subscription gimmicks. Together, the pair bond as they visit his father’s hometown, relatives and old “friends,” some of whom want a piece of his dad’s winnings. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in the script and real poignant moments, as well.

I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet, but I intend to. In the meantime, the script’s impact will stay with me for some time. Robert Nelson has crafted a timeless story that I hope I can one day emulate with my own writing.

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