Screenwriting 101: Stephany Folsom

August 26th, 2014 by

“Don’t worry about getting an agent or a manager. When you have enough quality work under your belt, the agencies and management companies will come calling. Worry about telling stories you’re passionate about. Because the doors are wide open to everyone, it means you really have to care about what you’re writing, and be willing to fight for it for months or years.”

– Stephany Folsom (GITS Interview, April 4, 2014)

Screenwriting 101: Brian Koppelman

August 19th, 2014 by

“The job of the writer on a studio assignment is to deliver a shootable script as defined by other people — the director, actors, producers, and studio. Has the writer been devalued in town? For sure. And wrongly so. And the practice has no doubt made the overall quality of studio movies worse. But it is the current state of play, and there’s no changing it.”

Brian Koppelman

Screenwriting 101: Danny Boyle

August 12th, 2014 by

“Beyond persistence, the only advice I ever give to young filmmakers is, don’t be shy in the way you tell a story. Be bold. There is that great quote, boldness has genius in it. People forgive you many things, if you remember that.”

Danny Boyle

Screenwriting 101: Robert Mark Kamen

August 5th, 2014 by

“I write original screenplays every year besides the movies I get made, and I just put them away. Write what makes you excited, and if it makes you excited, and you’re any good, it will excite somebody else. And if it doesn’t excite them to buy it, it will excite them to let you write something that they have. Focus on what makes you happy every day, because you have to sit down every day and look at that blank page. And what’s gonna get you off? What’s gonna make you happy that day besides finishing the day, is that you write something that makes you have that particular feeling.”

Robert Mark Kamen

Screenwriting 101: Guillermo Arriaga

July 29th, 2014 by

“I have no education at all in screenwriting. But when I have read all these manuals of screenwriting, they say things that I will never follow. And I have learned that the first rule of screenwriting, or any art, is having no rules. Everyone has to find their own way of doing things.”

Guillermo Arriaga

Screenwriting 101: J.J. Abrams

July 22nd, 2014 by

screenplay“Whether it’s alternate universes or time travel, the idea that reality isn’t exactly what we assume it is is the sort of primordial ooze of any great out-there story, certainly in sci-fi and arguably in non-sci-fi as well. The idea that just around the corner something unbelievable might exist, that behind that door might be something you could never imagine. I’ve always been obsessed with the feeling that there’s another level of understanding in the world, whether it’s something as fantastical and fanciful as The Wizard of Oz, as dark and freaky as The Ring or as wild and thrilling as The Matrix. The idea that this world we know isn’t just this world we know but that a package might arrive at your door or a phone call might come in, and suddenly you’re in a portal to a different realm.”

– J.J. Abrams (Playboy interview, April 29, 2013)

Screenwriting 101: Jill Soloway

July 15th, 2014 by

screenplay“The people who I believe in the most create work about people who are real. I’m also looking for truth, and I think that when people see truth in art, it resonates. Rootable women or likable women is a kind of trope that I was asked to be part of [while] working on getting network pilots picked up for a decade. ‘She’s not likable.’ ‘No woman would ever talk to another man romantically while she’s married.’ ‘No mom would ever do anything that would make it seem like she wasn’t thinking about her children all day.’ The rules about what women would do are super antiquated. So besides following the Woody Allen thing of — You don’t need to write antagonists. Life is the antagonist. I feel that way about my characters, and in particular being able to write women who are facing true challenges, true stories as opposed to the kinds of stories that most people ask women to write about women, it’s an unbelievable freedom for me that I’m so excited about.”

Jill Soloway

Screenwriting 101: Sean Hartofilis

July 8th, 2014 by

screenplay“I don’t think writing is as much an act as a way of being. Or at least not for me to be effective. It’s not just sitting down at your desk for a few hours and expecting something to happen. It’s the living and thinking that makes the writing. I think about these stories constantly so that when I sit down, I’m ready to go. I’m excited. I can step into the world of the story and experience it with the characters, or as the characters. I can get in and out of situations and solve problems and have fun, because I at least know where I am, if not where I’m going. Sitting down with an empty head is why people get blocked. You need a seed to grow. Fill your head…fill you heart…then sit down. And, yes, at some point, you’ve got to sit down. But I think you’ll find it so much easier to sit down if you’re always thinking about it. Unless you’re Thomas Wolfe. I think he wrote on top of his fridge.”

– Sean Hartofilis (GITS Interview, January 31, 2014)

Screenwriting 101: Aaron Guzikowski

July 1st, 2014 by

screenplay“I think learning the craft is how you break into Hollywood. You just need to do it everyday and love it and be passionate about it and write things you care about and that you want to see made into movies. That’s the best way to do it and just continually work at it, way beyond the point that seems logical.”

– Aaron Guzikowski (GITS Interview, February 22, 2014)

Screenwriting 101: Simon Kinberg

June 24th, 2014 by

screenplay“In my experience, audiences go to movies to feel. When the movie starts to break down and it becomes too mechanical or organized, instead of organic, audiences detach from the film. Inversely, when the story isn’t totally functional, but the characters are doing honest, true things that audiences can really feel, they are often willing to forgive a certain amount of illogic or plot holes.”

– Simon Kinberg (, May 23, 2104)