Why the SPN mixtape scene from 12x19 is screenwriting gold, and should be taught to the next generations of screenwriters everywhere - analysis
20 seconds. Two lines of dialogue, three gestures, a couple more camera angles. Episode 19, season 12 of a genre TV show “Supernatural”. A single strike of screenwriting and cinematic genius. The mixtape scene.
Robert Berens and Meredith Glynn, I bow before you.
This scene should be used as an example for future screenwriters how you can put maximum of meaning into minimal time and dialogue. Should be analyzed and taught at universities everywhere, how to achieve the most using the least. How to write for TV, where you only have less than an hour to built something spectacular.
Let’s just peel off all the layers of these 20 seconds of footage and these 13 words. 13 WORDS.
(Cas knocks, Dean doesn’t say anything. Cas opens the door, apologizes for disturbing Dean in his room, and then takes a cassette tape out of his left inside coat pocket, and puts it on the desk, while tapping the label on it that says “Deans (sic!) top 13 Zepp traxx”.)
Cas: Um, I just wanted to return this.
Dean: It’s a gift. You keep those.
13 tracks. 13 words. The future. So number thirteen is important for the future. I mean, are you trying to tell us something here, writers?
(Dean takes the tape, oustreches his arm, and gives it back to Cas. We see Cas’ hand grabbing the tape, and taking it back.)
That tiny scene is ENORMOUS from the perspective of the narrative and the characterization. Let’s see what we can get out of it. (Prepare yourself: it’s gonna be long. Damn, how much meta can you write based on 20 seconds of television and two lines of dialogue?) (Hint: A lot.)
Date the boy that controls the plants. You cannot see him, but he enjoys your company all the same. Sometimes, when you sit in the grass, he will make four-leaf clovers sprout next to you. It would make his lonely life a little more bearable if you would pick them and keep them forever.
Date the little demon floating above your back at all times. She’s there cause she loves you. She doesn’t want you to be broken, like her. She doesn’t have the power to heal you, being a demon, but she tries. She will always, always, always protect you as much as she can.
Date the one with scales that glow, who smells like the sea in the most comforting ways. The one with a laugh like the rolling waves, who disappears and reappears with the tides. Date the one who will sit on the rocks and sings songs to you as the moon rises and points out constellations as they appear. They’ll disappear once the sun rises, diving back into the depths.
Date the one made out of cosmic dust, who glows with the moon in their eyes and stars in their skin. Freckles making constellations on their skin that move and match the skies. Date the one with galaxies for hair and a touch cold as the vacuum of space but hotter than the sun.
Date the one who hides in the groves of the forests. Flowers woven into their hair and dirt caked to the bottoms of their feet. Date the one who hides in the shades and dances in the sunlight. Find they who make the trees their homes, who grow and nurture the seeds as they grow. Find the ones who talk to the animals and fly free with the birds.
Date the one who is nothing but darkness, who’s eyes are white slits in the shadow. Date the one with the gapping maw with an unsatiable hunger for knowledge and matter. The one who glides without sound through the halls of an abandoned building, peering at what once was theirs.
Summary: Dean finally tells the Reader the three letter word.
Word Count: 928
Author’s Note: Heyy guys! So this was supposed to be for my own Music Shuffle Game, but then I realized that @d-s-winchester had a challenge that I volunteered for and I got the same song. So this is for her challenge too…although…I don’t remember the tag for it. So this probably doesn’t count *hides face* I hope you enjoy it!!