One of the things you really want to do early on in your script is establish the genre. Juno shouting this line at the dog, Banana, does exactly this and the audience now knows they are rooted in a comedy – “Jeez Banana shut your frickin gob okay?”.
“This is the most magnificent discarded living room set I’ve ever seen” – another witty and funny line, foreshadowing Juno’s personality which is going to be revealed to us in the next few scenes.
Juno remembers the night with Bleeker as magnificent and nothing to regret. This is a very important and subtle setting of story tone, hinting to us that we are going to be given a lighter positive look at the potentially heavy subject of teenage pregnancy.
Scene transitions really add to the unity, rhythm and flow of your script and we get a nice visual one here with the old sofa chair.
When Juno drops her underwear on the floor, we don’t see expensive silk laced panties, we see normal teenage ones which continues the teenage/adolescence line.
The choice of camera shot is interesting (including the ones after it) because we don’t see Bleeker’s face and therefore don’t know his identity. This is not a mystery, thriller or suspense genre so Bleeker’s identity and concealing it are not related to the plot. So why do it? Maybe because Act 1 is about establishing context and delivering exposition to set up the story, so leveraging any opportunity to increase the audiences interest should always be used? (We don’t find out Bleeker is the father until ten minutes into the story).
Bleeker – “I’ve wanted this for a really long time”, we now know that this is not a one night stand.
Juno – “I know”, Juno’s response is that of an adult and not a teenager. We would expect her to say ‘I wanted it too’, but she’s confused about relationships and from the first moments of the story we get an idea of how she operates within them.
Bleeker – “Wizard”, this is the kind of dialogue we expect from a carefree teenager.
Later in the script there is a scene in the science lab and two teenagers have a domestic just like adults would. Maturity, adults wanting to be teenagers again and teenagers behaving like adults is the central theme of this movie. Bleeker and Juno are playing this theme out in a very subtle form even in the first few minutes of the script.
The fear on Juno’s face portrays the feelings of a teenager losing their virginity for the first time. Is this scene designed to invoke memories of how we felt during our first time so we can connect with Juno and understand what she’s feeling?
If you are writing a story that isn’t linear and compact in time then you are going to need visual, verbal and audible cues to the audience when you want to move from one point in time to another.
In Juno, Autumn, is written on the screen in the opening scene and the time frame is now established. We can now easily skip, as this story does, forward several months into the future without disorientating the viewer. Do you notice the font and style of the writing ‘Autumn’? it’s written like a child or teenager, crayon style. Diablo Cody is establishing (although this was probably done by Reitman or a production designer) that this is a youth/teenage story from the opening frame.
The environment is established very quickly by the opening shot of suburban American houses. This is not a fantasy movie or story about rich people in Beverly Hills, it’s a story of a middle class teenager, just like me or you, in a normal neighbourhood.
Can teenage youth be more summed up than hoodies, jeans and a gallon of Sunny D?