Screenwriters I Love: Leslie Dixon

By Laura Crisp Davis - May 23, 2023
Screenwriters I Love: Leslie Dixon

My 2023 #LauraAtTheMovies journey is a list of screenwriters I love and why they inspire me as a writer, competition juror, and fan.

Screenwriter: Leslie Dixon

Best Known For: Mrs. Doubtfire, Hairspray, Just Like Heaven, Freaky Friday (2003), Pay It Forward, The Thomas Crown Affair, Overboard (1987 & 2018), Outrageous Fortune.

Awards & Nominations: Saturn Award nomination for Best Writing (Freaky Friday)

About the writer: On her journey to becoming a screenwriter, she was hired as a script reader. She used her work experience as a masterclass in studying script structure, formatting, genre mechanics, audience appeal, and what made a producer or studio buy a script. Her first script was sold to a studio but never made it to production. Nevertheless, she kept building her skills and her contacts and never gave up!

Why I love their work: I watched her movies on repeat in the 80s-90s, clueless that she was the imagination behind them all. At first glance her scripts are lighthearted rom-com and buddy stories, but there's always a moment that delivers a profound revelation. She crafts the message into a character's arc so beautifully that the audience never feels like we're being lectured or that there's an agenda. It's just a human going through something, adapting (or not), and facing the results of their choices. She makes it look easy and effortless, but it's really the big payoff of her reading and learning from other scripts. My favorites are Mrs. Doubtfire, Just Like Heaven, and Freaky Friday.

IMDb link: Leslie Dixon

Thanks for joining me at the movies,

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Sometimes I'm serious, sometimes I'm silly. Any scripts referenced are for educational purposes only. (My lawyer made me say that part.)