This is true! But the story of how we got there is less techno-prophetic and more practical. And likely useful for screenwriters! (thread)
In doing the movie version of a TV series, the stakes had to be higher than they would ever be for an episode. A plot to kill Charlie — the Angels’ unseen benefactor — made sense. 2/n
Problem is, Charlie isn’t really a character. He’s a mysterious voice on the phone. 3/n Charlie’s Angels speakerphone
In talking with Drew, I described Charlie’s Angels as a fairy tale about three princesses who work for their unseen father, who is King-slash-God. They love him even though they never see him. 4/n
They’re supposed to be great investigators, so why do they never track down the man they’re working for? Trust, love, faith. Again, it’s a fairy tale. 5/n
So if a villain is going to try to kill Charlie, he has to find him first. And he’ll enlist the Angels to do it, using Charlie’s own creation against him. Because evil. 6/n
You want to start an action movie with an action set piece, so why not a rescue mission? The Angels save the man who ultimately becomes the villain. 7/n Sam Rockwell tied up
Yes, we’ve seen this fake-your-kidnapping idea enough that audiences have their guard up. I think we mostly get away with it because a) we were early and b) he’s played as an adorkable love interest for Dylan, matching the ones for Natalie and Alex. 8/n Smiling Sam Rockwell
Does Knox have to seduce Dylan? Not really. But it’s helpful for misdirecting the audience; we think he’s there to be protected. Plus we’ve given many obvious villains, including the Thin Man... 9/n
...and Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch), who fits the prototype of the helpful second-in-command who’s actually the villain... 10/n Kelly Lynch and Bill Murray
....and of course Roger Corwin (Tim Curry), who is announced as the bad guy early on and sure looks the part. 11/n Tim Curry
Of course they’re all in cahoots (except Corwin, who dies). They’re working for Knox, who wants to kill Charlie because of hand-wavy Daddy Issues. 12/n
Which brings us back to tracking cell phones. It’s not a prophetic indictment of a coming surveillance state. It’s purely functional. It’s the only way Knox can find Charlie. 12/n
Knox needs the Angels to physically break in to Red Star to insert a backdoor. Of course, we make it seem like it’s for a noble purpose. 13/n Cameron Diaz in jump suit
In the end, evil is defeated and normal order is restored. The destroyed agency will be rebuilt. Charlie is once again safely back on the speakerphone. 14/n
Unlike a traditional episode, the Angels do grow a bit. For Alex and Natalie, it was about relationships. For Dylan, it was the chance to glimpse her much-needed father/king/God figure. 15/n
tl;dr The cell phone tracking in Charlie’s Angels is there to service theme and story, and came as a result of what we wanted the characters to do. 16/n
Speaking of cell phones: Cingular wireless had paid product placement in the second movie to showcase their new “photo-messaging service.” It’s cringey.…

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More from @johnaugust

27 Jun
Something I don't see screenwriters talking about is collapsing scenes, but it's something I end up doing on every script. Let's talk about why and how. (thread)
Let's say you've planned/outlined for three scenes. But then you get to it, and there's not room/space/budget for all three. This could happen on the first draft, fifth or in production. You've got to collapse them down, but how?
An example. Let's say you have these three scenes:

A) Denise and Alphonso notice a strange smell.
B) They search the house, and discover a family of raccoons in the attic
C) The animal removal guy hits on Denise in front of Alphonso
Read 11 tweets
23 Oct 18
Screenwriters! Don’t leave behind written materials after a pitch or meeting. Don't email them afterwards. If asked, just say no. You need to be paid for your writing. Because that's your actual job. #NoWritingLeftBehind No Writing Left Behind logo
We talk in detail about why leave-behinds are such a problem in today's Scriptnotes -- Craig's umbrage is off the charts -- and also look at the writing you do for yourself when pitching.…
Free work isn't just a thing that screenwriters face, of course. Artists and freelancers are constantly being asked to do something for nothing. We all need to say no.
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep 18
Spent Saturday afternoon registering voters with @WhenWeAllVote at Long Beach Comic-Con, and I’ve got some thoughts on dudes and democracy.

photo by @bethshax who organized the day Cosplay superheroes registering to vote
We were friendly but assertive, like a samples person at Wetzels Pretzels. If you looked like you were maybe 18, we asked if you were registered to vote in California.

Most people said they were. Hooray!
We signed up dozens of folks who weren’t registered or who had moved. We sent 17-year-olds to Rock The Vote where they can preregister.
Read 13 tweets
12 Jul 18
Jesse raises an interesting question. Let’s have a wee thread about pricing apps.
Weekend Read is the app we make for reading screenplays on the iPhone. It melts PDFs and reformats the text. It’s literally the only app that does it.…
It’s a free download. It’s $9.99 USD to keep more than three scripts in your library. On Fridays, we put up a curated list of existing scripts available on the web, all verified to work well in the app. iOS screen of Featured Friday screenplay list
Read 6 tweets

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