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Many years ago I stumbled across the Raiders Of The Lost Ark story conference transcript on a film review website. Supposedly this is a typed transcript of several audio-taped story conferences between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan, wherein they discuss the origins and motivations of the Indiana Jones character and the story beats of what would ultimately become Raiders.

The version of the transcript that I read at the time was a PDF containing a number of photocopied typewritten pages. I've since seen other versions where the transcript is more typeset, as though the text has been re-typed into a word processing or desktop publishing program.

Regardless of format, and in relation to the actual content of the transcript, has its authenticity ever been verified? It certainly seems legitimate, so much so that if it is a fake then it is an extremely plausible one. Have Lucas, Spielberg or Kasdan ever mentioned this transcript or its content at all?

(Please note that I am not asking whether the story conferences ever took place, as it seems clear from other sources that they did.)


EDIT: I'm not going to link directly to the transcript PDF for legal reasons, but this blog post by screenwriter John August briefly discusses the transcript: follow a couple of additional links from there and you'll find the original. Alternatively, Google/Bing the keywords raiders story conference transcript.

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    Is there any version going around the internet that you might be able to link to? – Napoleon Wilson Jan 2 '18 at 14:36
  • @NapoleonWilson Just search for raiders story conference transcript. – Steven Rands Jan 2 '18 at 14:38
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    I meant inside the question for additional context. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 2 '18 at 14:39
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    Hmm, I see. Don't worry, it's a reasonable question already. I just thought it could profit from a link to it. But I can see the moral problem at hand here. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 2 '18 at 14:45
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    maddogmovies.com/almost/scripts/raidersstoryconference1978.pdf - links are always ok - copying/pasting someone else's content and putting on your site is where the trouble could arise. – HerrimanCoder May 16 '18 at 16:24
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Here's an interview with Larry Kasdan at a Writer's Guild Conference in August 2016. At 4:40 the interviewer, John August mentions that we are all lucky enough to have seen the Raiders conference notes, to which Larry Kasdan nods acknowledgment.

Later in the interview there's this exchange:

John: Going back to Raiders of the Lost Ark and the story conference, which people have seen the transcript of that, that was the first movie. That was the original template for this thing that’s going to keep going on. Looking at that discussion you had, everyone is referencing the things that are so important to that, and the things they love. The serials are important to them. What if this character did this? I want a character who can do these kind of things.

That was you guys forming the template in real time for what this whole thing was going to be. And it started with what do I love. What do I wish existed as a movie? And that’s, I think, what we are urging him to write is that thing that he wishes existed.

Lawrence: That’s exactly right. And George and Steven are very strong that way. And you can see it all through their work...

The interview is over an hour long. The transcript is here.

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