2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 3)

Reflections on observations by Out of Sight and Minority Report screenwriter.

One of the panels I attended at the recent Austin Film Festival featured Scott Frank. Moderated by Craig Mazin, Frank — whose screenwriting credits include Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Malice, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Marley & Me, and Logan — delved deep into his creative and writing process. I thumbed my way through copious notes on my iPhone notes app. Over the past few days, I’ve done a series of reflections based on comments made by Frank during the talk.

Scott Frank


You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader.
You’re using words in your script and reading books feeds that.
I read everything. Always learning how writers write.

It’s simple: Writers read.


It’s about words.

As Scott says, we use words in our writing. Reading exposes us to new ways to use words. As Rumer Godden wrote:

“A writer who has never explored words, who has never searched, seeded, sieved, sifted through his knowledge and memory… dictionaries, thesaurus, poems, favorite paragraphs, to find the right word, is like someone owning a gold mine who has never mined it.”

It’s about writing.

When we read, we take in how a writer writes. Whether conscious or unconscious, that can influence how we write.

It’s about the soul.

Creative expression is an outer exhibition of energy. Stories feed the soul and refuel our creativity.

Watch movies. Watch TV. But don’t forget: Read.

Words of wisdom from Scott Frank.

On November 22, his new series ‘Godless’ debuts on Netflix.

Jeff Daniels in ‘Godless’.

‘Godless’ website here.

Twitter: @scottfrank.