Screenwriting 101: Ashleigh Powell

October 14th, 2014 by

“Theme is something that has always felt very elusive and intimidating to me. Maybe it comes from reading a lot of literature, having to dissect and analyze and write serious essays on the importance of ‘THEME’ in a story. But I recently read a piece of advice… this comes from Tawnya Bhattacharya from the Script Anatomy blog… that has really struck with me: ‘Theme is the opposite of your main character’s flaw.’ You start the story with the main character’s flaw, you show how that character is transforming over the course of their journey, and by the end of it they’ve completed an arc and realized the theme. I think there is something beautifully simplified about that approach.”

– Ashleigh Powell (GITS interview, March 29, 2013)

Screenwriting 101: Anthony Minghella

October 7th, 2014 by

“I’ve been writing for over twenty years, all my adult life, and so I suppose that I’ve made peace with myself and my hopeless, undisciplined technique. I’ve stopped unravelling everytime I’m unable to write. I wait. The drawer opens. Waiting is part of writing. When I write the word ‘waiting’ by hand it even looks like ‘writing.’”

– Anthony Minghella

Screenwriting 101: Joseph Wambaugh

September 30th, 2014 by

“Screenwriters are like little guppies swimming in an aquarium filled with sharks, killer whales, octopuses and other creatures of the deep. And plenty of squid shit.”

– Joseph Wambaugh from “Writers on Writing”

Screenwriting 101: Rajiv Joseph

September 23rd, 2014 by

“I feel that every story has to have an idea that transcends the action and the characters. We had a number of things for Draft Day, that this is a story about blank. This is a story about instinct versus logic, this is a story about character versus talent, this is a story about fathers and sons. This is the kind of thing that helps me and Scott [Rothman] think about, ‘Why are we writing this to begin with?’ We can both write funny, cute dialogue until we’re blue in the face and it’s not going to mean anything. Always, no matter how silly a movie might be, I think there has to be some deeper idea that’s its soul. I find myself thinking about that a lot, especially when I find I’m discouraged by a piece of writing.”

– Rajiv Joseph (GITS interview, April 11, 2014)

Screenwriting 101: Scott Rothman

September 16th, 2014 by

“One of the big lessons I learned, when I wrote that script that got me into NYU. It wasn’t this great script, but it was definitely better than anything I had done prior. I had made a terrible movie with one of my really good friends in San Francisco a while ago. It was so much fun making a movie, but the script was terrible. I didn’t know it was terrible until we started shooting it and I saw it come to life. I knew I didn’t care enough about it, and no one else was going to care anything about it either, because of that. I think that was the first big jump my writing took, and I think why I was able to finally write something that was halfway decent, was like, ‘It needs to matter.’ It needs to matter to you. You’re not just doing this to entertain yourself, or to show that you can do it. It’s got to be much bigger than that. It needs a reason to exist and a reason for other people to rally behind it.”

– Scott Rothman (GITS interview, April 12, 2014)

Screenwriting 101: Chris Roessner

September 9th, 2014 by

“Know if it’s that independent, quirky comedy. Know if it’s that big, $200 million action film. Know the target you’re aiming for and let that guide you. Don’t let the fear of a one sheet or the fear of a trailer deter you from pursuing what you’re interested in. By all means, pursue what you’re passionate about. But know where it belongs in the marketplace.”

– Chris Roessner (GITS Interview, April 2013)

Screenwriting 101: Barbara Stepansky

September 2nd, 2014 by

“The most time I devote to is character. I think that plots develop out of character needs and wants. I think the most fun comes from watching people do something and spend time with them. Once I have a kernel of where I want the story to go or the kind of movie I want to tell, I ask myself who is it that propels this plot forward the most.”

– Barbara Stepansky (GITS interview, January 17, 2014)

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