No one would confuse me with a Trekkie. In fact, I’ve never seen a Star Trek movie. And chances are good that whenever the TV show was on when I was a kid that I was outside playing ball. But when a movie has an opening weekend of $75 million and has made over $200 million worldwide since its release two weeks ago you kinda take notice. Thought I find out about the writers and discovered the team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
It turns out that they have been writing together since just after graduating from high school. And they are red hot Hollywood writers with writing credits on Transformers, Mission: Impossible III, and many episodes of the TV program Alias. Just in their mid-30s now it’s safe to assume that you’ll be seeing their name on the big screen for perhaps as long as screen are still big.
So how do these two writers work together? I found a Q&A that Alex Billington did with them online at Firstshowing.net :
Alex: Tying back to the beginning, how do you step into the process of collaborating? What I mean is, does one of you write the dialogue, the other write the story, or is there an equal share between what is contributed to the script from both of you? Does one of you finish the first draft and the next take a look at it? How do you work together? How does your chemistry work between you two when working on a script?
Orci: Altogether different, but Alex and I right now are talking to you from across the table that we’ve been sitting at for the last five years. We sit across from each other, each with our own computer and our scripts are our conversations. We contribute equally, to figuring out what the story is and then actually writing down what is said and how the scenes are blocked, etc.
Kurtzman: It goes back all the way to the way we started writing together, which was pre-internet when we were at college. Bob and I would get on the phone and we would put the phone between our ear and our shoulders for like six hours and just write line for line together, staring at screens half way across the country from each other. That sort of conversation just became what we knew. We didn’t really know any other way. It wasn’t like “All right. You take this scene and that scene and then we’ll divide it up and we’ll come back together.” It was just kind of a conversational line-for-line development that continues to be the way we write now.
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