Screenwriting 101: Paul Schrader

December 11th, 2012 by

“So in many ways I came to screenwriting for all of the best reasons. I came to it as a form of self-therapy, I came to it because I had no choice, I came to it because I needed to do this to save myself. [Taxi Driver] came out very, very quickly. I didn’t know it was crazy at the time I wrote it. Then after I wrote it, I left Los Angeles for almost eight months; I drifted around the country and got my equilibrium back. But I wrote that to get it [out]. It was like an animal that was crawling out of my chest, and I had to get it out and cauterize the wound. And I’m very thankful I walked in that door. I always bear that lesson in mind that art and screenwriting are functional. They can help you see certain life crises in perspective. They can help you see your life in perspective. And you can take this and show it to somebody else. And they too can have the same awareness that you were brought to. I really believe that art is functional in the same way that the tools you use to build a house are functional.”

— Paul Schrader, “Creative Screenwriting” (January/February 1999)

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