The opening titles of The Adventures of Tintin, while not technically part of the screenplay, offer a jaunty, tongue-in-cheek symposium on the action-adventure genre. Or, that is to say, on the films of Steven Spielberg. There’s a boy, he’s got a companion, in this case a dog, and there is danger and bad guys and all manner of vehicular transport, often in competition with each other, and a magical object, in this case a glowing ball, that everyone is after. This describes the plots of any number of Spielberg movies. If you wanted, you could expand the titles of Tintin into its own feature, and in fact just describing them would constitute a terrific pitch in most rooms in Hollywood. What is the glowing ball? The glowing ball is, of course, the maguffin, the thing around which the action revolves. For Spielberg, that might be the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, Devil’s Tower, Private Ryan or an enamelware factory. The point of the maguffin is that it doesn’t matter what it is, it only matters that it’s important to everyone in the story. It could literally be a glowing ball and it would still have the same effect, if exploited properly. At the end of the Tintin titles, it turns out that the glowing ball is the dot to the “i” in “Spielberg,” which adds the personal touch and brings home the fact that the sequence is, in large part, autobiographical — the chase for the maguffin, whatever it is, is the guiding principle of Spielberg’s life, the glow in his eye, or the light of his “I.” That the drama of the titles plays out on a typewriter instead of, say, a drawing board, or an editing table, brings that glowing “I” to the writer’s desk, that is, to the screenplay, where a movie always begins, where it must begin. It’s often been said that Spielberg makes movies about movies, here he acknowledges that openly.