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

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