Screenwriting 101: John Milius

September 20th, 2016 by

Screenplay“Never compromise excellence. To write for someone else is the biggest mistake that any writer makes. You should be your biggest competitor, your biggest critic, your biggest fan, because you don’t know what anybody else thinks. How arrogant it is to assume that you know the market, that you know what’s popular today—only Steven Spielberg knows what’s popular today. Only Steven Spielberg will ever know what’s popular. So leave it to him. He’s the only one in the history of man who has ever figured that out. Write what you want to see. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to have any true passion in it, and it’s not going to be done with any true artistry.”

— John Milius

Via Creative Screenwriting

Screenwriting 101: Lawrence Kasdan

September 13th, 2016 by

Screenplay“I usually start with characters I’m interested in and hope they develop a field of force that starts to be a story. You bring in another character and that character causes sparks and friction and conflict with the one you started with. And you’re on your way.”

— Lawrence Kasdan

From WGFestival 2016

Screenwriting 101: Steven E. de Souza

September 6th, 2016 by

Screenplay“There’s dynamics you don’t know about. There’s an executive at your meeting, she’s been frustrated that every movie that comes out of this process turns out to be aimed at teenage boys with fart jokes, and she’s trying to elevate the material. And then you have her arch-enemy who’s not going to make any wussie movies. Then you have the person who’s job is shaky who wants to show off in the meeting. So all this stuff is going on.

You want them to have a good meeting. One of the things you can do is go in there and leave opportunities for ‘plug and play’. If they can say anything in the meeting that they can think is their idea, then they’re invested.

For example, you might say, ‘I think these villains are doing something to screw with our economy, they want to mess with our money, they’re trying to fool people, they’ve got a big suitcase full of… of…’ And someone says, ‘Counterfeit money?’ [claps hands] ‘Yes, yes, that’s right. I like that. Can I write that down?’”

— Steven E. de Souza

Via “Tales from the Script”

Screenwriting 101: Adam Rifkin

August 30th, 2016 by

Screenplay“You can just say, ‘Well, I’m not really inspired by an idea yet, so I’m just gonna hang out, see what hits me. Maybe I’ll write a scene and see where it takes me.’ I don’t know any writers who are successful who approach writing like that at all. You have to look at it like it is a full time job.”

— Adam Rifkin

Via “Tales from the Script”

Screenwriting 101: Billy Ray

August 23rd, 2016 by

ScreenplayChinatown took 17 drafts. And none of us are as good as Robert Towne. Amadeus, I think, took 46. And none of us are as good as Peter Shaffer. All that means is the previous 45 of Amadeus, someone said, ‘Peter, you can do better.’ And I’m sure it pissed him off and hurt his feelings, but he kept writing, and he wound up with one of the best movies ever.”

— Billy Ray

Via “Tales from the Script”

Screenwriting 101: Stephen Chin

August 16th, 2016 by

Screenplay“I’m an outsider, I didn’t go to film school, I didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills. But outsiders have other gifts. You have other insights, by virtue of the fact that you have lived in other worlds.”

— Stephen Chin (New York Times, Aug. 12, 2016)


Screenwriting 101: William Goldman

August 9th, 2016 by

Screenplay“I don’t know what it means, a ‘perfect script’. I think you want to basically figure out the fucking story and stay on the story as long as you can and as closely as you can, and end it. When you start telling yourself, ‘I want to write a great story,’ all you’re gonna do is castrate yourself and get into deeper and deeper trouble. It’s hard to do anyway. It’s no fun going into your pit everyday and try to get 2 or 3 or 5 pages. ‘Coz some days you don’t do anything. Then you think, ‘Why’? Then what if you have two crappy days in a row, then you’re really in deep shit. You just want to get it done and you pray someone will like it.”

— William Goldman

Via “Tales from the Script”

Screenwriting 101: Joe Forte

August 2nd, 2016 by

Screenplay“If you just define yourself as a screenwriter and you have a bad day writing, then that’s your whole world. You’re building your life on this very singular pylon. It’s important to remember you’re a brother or a sister or a father or a boyfriend, but also that you have interests and hobbies that feed you and nourish you and bring ideas in and balance you out.”

— Joe Forte

Via “Tales from the Script”

Screenwriting 101: Peter Hyams

July 19th, 2016 by

Screenplay“If I want to make a film, I’m asking somebody for money. The only reason why they’re going to give me money is they think they’re going to make more money back. If they didn’t think they were going to make more money than they gave me, they’d be idiots.”

— Peter Hyams

Via “Tales from the Script”

Screenwriting 101: Adam Rifkin

June 28th, 2016 by

Screenplay“If you’re a purist and you don’t want your words touched, you should either be a novelist or an author. Because if you’re going to be a screenplay writer and expect that your words are going to be treated like gold, that’s just not reality.”

— Adam Rifkin

Via “Tales from the Script”