Screenwriting 101: Nick Hornby

October 18th, 2016 by

Screenplay“I absolutely love writing minor characters. One thing that I think I’ve realized is that minor characters are where it’s at in terms of lifting the quality of a film. You have to take care of your leads, but if people love minor characters, you’re on a different plateau. Then it feels like the movie is being made with love and care.

For a start – and this is a huge thing – if you’ve written a proper part for a minor character, you’re going to get an actor of an altogether different magnitude to do it… Independent filmmakers especially talk all the time about “casting up” because you need all the help you can get, and the best way to cast up is to make sure that the minor characters are interesting, funny, different, and memorable. Then if you want to send the script to a really good actor and say, ‘Look, it’s a day or two day’s work, but you get to say this'” then something really great could come out of it.”

— Nick Hornby

Via Creative Screenwriting

Screenwriting 101: Mike Leigh

October 11th, 2016 by

Screenplay“If the proposition is that a screenplay should have three acts, I would say that’s not rocket science, because you can’t help but have three acts. You set up the premise. You challenge the status quo. Then you resolve this. Those are the three acts. That’s all there is to it. I personally believe in a well-structured film. I don’t see the screenplay as something that should be separate from the film. I don’t make a screenplay, I make a film. But it still has to be well-structured, there’s no getting round it. It’s essential and as important as having a well-structured building. But I have little time for the industry that has grown up around theorizing this.”

— Mike Leigh

Via Creative Screenwriting

Screenwriting 101: Curtis Hanson

October 4th, 2016 by

HT @BrianDuffield

Screenwriting 101: Josh Friedman

September 27th, 2016 by

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)