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Archive for the ‘Filmmaking Quote of the Day’ Category

“There’s no one to tell you it’s bad. So your own grandiosity and pride tells you—’Wow this is great; it couldn’t be any better. I think the audience would be comfortable with a two-hour-twenty-minute comedy. Why not?’ Then you show it to your studio or producers and they go, ‘Ooooh. That’s a little long…do you need this scene?’ At first it’s like someone suggesting you murder your own children. Then you wake up to the fact that you’re not alone in this process and that you are making films for an audience.”
Writer/director Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) on first cuts of films
Creative Screenwriting January /February 2004

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Don’t Bore the Audience

Scott W. Smith

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“My recipe for making movies has always been to give an audience two or three really top-notch scenes in every film and to try not to annoy them the rest of the time. If you can do that you will have made an entertaining picture.”
Producer/director Howard Hawks (Red River, Sergeant York, His Girl Friday)
Talk at Chicago Film Festival
via The Movie Makers: Artists in an Industry by Gene D. Phillips

Here are two memorable scenes with Howard Hawks connections. The first is from the film The Big Sky (1952) which Hawks directed, and the second film is Scarface (1983) directed by Brian DePalma from a script by Oliver Stone.  After seeing the original Scarface (1932) which Hawks directed, Al Pacino set theings in motion to star in a modern retelling of the story.

Scott W. Smith

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“Everything’s always about page-turning, right? What’s next? So, if you create questions for audiences, then they’ll want to know the answer. Or they begin to formulate possible outcomes. That’s the game we play when we’re hearing a story unfold. That’s part of what sucks us into a movie.”
Producer/Director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, Rush)
Extended interview: Ron Howard on directing
CBS Sunday Morning

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“A film is like a battleground. It’s love, hate, action, violence, death—In one word, emotions.”
Writer/director/World War II veteran Samuel Fuller (1912-1997)
Playing himself (uncredited) in the Jean-Luc Goddard film Pierrot le Fou

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40 Days of Emotions
Screenwriting from Hell

Scott W. Smith

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“You need to be very ‘platformagostic.’ You want to find an audience wherever that audience is. So think about the web, TV, and theaters. Open yourself to as many possibilities as you can imagine. Today you cannot be just a filmmaker; you have to be a marketer, accountant, publicist, writer, and businessman. You have to understand the economics of making a movie and what it takes for you to continue to make movies. Only the jack of all trades are ultimately sucessful…Do whatever you can to get your film made and to tell the truth. I was in film school with people far more talented than me, and today they’re in the insurance or banking business. I was successful because I refused to give up.”
Producer/director/writer Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold)
Making a Living as a Documentarian
by Oliver W. Tuthill Jr
MovieMaker magazine Issue 103 Vol 20, page 23

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Screenwriter/Salesman Pete Jones
Flipping Pancakes, Screenwriting & Emmys 

Scott W. Smith

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“You go out and find some interesting people. You get to know them and film them, and you make something that says something about who they are; you learn to make movies that have some meaning.”
Filmmaker Les Blank (Burden of Dreams)
A Well Spent Life by Betsy Mclane
DGA Quarterly Spring 2012

Scott W. Smith

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“I was nobody auditioning, and then I was seen as this young, emerging talent, writer, Oscar winner (Good Will Hunting screenplay) — and then I was seen as this blockbuster actor, and then I was seen as this kind of train-wreck actor (RAZZIE Award winner, Worst ActorDaredevil. Gigli, Paycheck) and then I was seen as this resurgent director. And now I think I’m kind of seen as just sort of somebody in Hollywood who works.”
Ben Affleck
A Snub by Oscars? Affleck Has an Answer by Melena Ryzik
NY Times January 16,2113

“I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here. I was just a kid, and I never thought I’d be back here, and I am…What I learned was it doesn’t matter if you get knocked down in life, what matters is that you’ve got to get back up.”
Ben Affleck, producer/director/actor (Argo)
Best Picture (Argo), 2013 Oscar Acceptance Speech

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Writing “Good Will Hunting”
Project Greenlight 2 (Part 1)
“Against the Wind”
Screenwriting Quote #141 (Melissa Rosenberg)
Filmmaking Quote #33 (Ken Burns)
Broken Wings & Silver Linings

Scott W. Smith

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“I think filmmaking is obstacles. In fact, every film is a set of millions, literally—no exaggeration—millions of problems. But I use the word problems not so much pejoratively as if it’s just resistances, friction that you have to overcome. I’m fifty-six right now and have been making films for over 30 years—I don’t look fifty-six— you can imagine what I looked like when I started off. The first film I wanted to do was tell the story of the Brooklyn Bridge. So people would slam the door and say, ‘This child is trying to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge. No.’ And for many years I kept two thick binders, three-ring binders of literally hundreds of rejections. So I guess the biggest sort of outer resistance was just finding the money to be able to produce these films I wanted to produce.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (The Dust Bowl, The Civil War, Baseball)
Big Think Interview

Scott W. Smith

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“Auteurism today? Well, everybody thinks they’re an auteur. But nobody seems to understand what the whole auteur thing was. It wasn’t a theory as far as the French were concerned. It was a political statement called la politique des auteurs. Truffaut and Godard were attacking the old-fashioned, well-made film, French or American. They thought Howard Hawks was an infinitely better director than Fred Zinnemann. They thought Alfred Hitchcock was a greater director than David Lean. They were against Marcel Carné  and for Jean Renoir. Personal films were what they looking for, where a director’s personality dominated despite who wrote it or who was in it or who photographed it.”
Peter Bogdanovich
“Everybody thinks they’re an auteur” article by Vince Cosgrove
New York Daily News/March 2012

P.S. In the interview, Bogdanovich mentions that his favorite books about movies “include The Parade’s Gone By by Keven Brownlow, The American Cinema by Andrew Sarris, Adventures with D.W. Griffith by Karl Brown and Growing Up in Hollywood by Robert Parrish.

Scott W. Smith

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“My token advice (to aspiring filmmakers) is do it—make your own stuff. Whether it’s short films or whatever you can do, my advice is make your own stuff. I’m a real believer in preparation meets opportunity. When this opportunity (to write Bridesmaids) came along I really had been at this a long time…I was really prepared when this came along. I’m just a firm believer in ‘just do it.’ If you build it, he will come.”
Annie Mumolo 
Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Bridesmaids
Script Mag Podcast with Jenna Milly 

P.S. About that “If you build it…”/Field of Dreams reference, all roads may not lead through Iowa— it just seems like it sometimes.

Related post: Filmmaking Quote #29 (Marc Maurino)

Another First Script = Oscar Nomination

Scott W. Smith

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