Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Creative Screenwriting’

“For me, writing a screenplay is an important thing, it is a thing unto itself, as opposed to a blueprint for a movie. I take pride in those 120 pages, that the screenplay can be a piece of art all by itself, a thing you can sit down and read, as opposed to just connecting the dots, which a lot of screenplays are.”
Writer/ Director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense)
Creative Screenwriting interview by Daniel Argent
Best of CS Interviews

Read Full Post »

“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

Related Posts:

Emotionally Move the Audience (Tip #55)
Don’t Bore the Audience

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“A screenwriter friend of mine said your number one goal is to get to the end. So write it fast; don’t look back. If you have to have characters yak about something and you don’t have a solution, do it anyway and let it suck. Then go back over it in a couple of weeks, and you’ll be much clearer on what’s strong and what’s not strong and then attack the ones that are too verbose. At least you’ll have a laundry list of things the audience needs to know—but don’t hang up on finding the visual solution and not move forward on your screenplay.”
Oscar-winning writer/director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille)
Interview with Peter N. Chumo II
creative screenwriting magazine, Novemeber/December 2004

Recap:
—Write it fast
—Don’t look back
—Let it suck
—Move forward

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Though it’s now 2013, this blog continues to get many hits on posts I’ve written about Toy Story 3 which was released in 2010. I’m not one to stop that momentum, so here’s my first Toy Story 3 post of the year:

“Andrew Stanton’s rule of thumb is that it takes 10 man-years of labor to make a good screenplay. Either two writers working five years or 10 guys working one year. For Toy Story 3, it was even more than that—probably the equivalent of 10 people each working two or three years. To me, this is what separates Pixar from everyone else. They realize how hard it is to come up with a great screenplay.”
Michael Arndt
Inside Pixar by Danny Munso
Creative Screenwriting, May/June 2010
Page 179

Heck, I may be writing about Toy Story 3 ten years from now. (Just for the record Andrew Stanton has won two Oscars; Finding Nemo and Wall-E.)  And speaking of ten years, here is another quote from that same article which may encourage/discourage you:

“You have to remember, I spent ten years sitting alone in Brooklyn working on my scripts and getting dribs and drabs of feedback every couple of weeks. and suddenly, it’s like your crawling through the desert and one day you drill down and hit a geyser. Sitting on those [Pixar] Brain Trust meetings have been some of the most exhilarating moments of my creative life. I remember the first time I sat in on a Brain Trust meeting. As soon as people started talking it was like the Harlem Globetrotters in your living room.”
Michael Arndt

So keep that in mind as you wander through your own writing desert. Before Pixar brought him on board to help write Toy Story 3, and before he won and Academy Award (Little Miss Sunshine) Arndt was “sitting alone in Brooklyn working on scripts.”  He worked as an assistant in the film business and as a freelance script reader to pay the bills. (one of his employers said he didn’t even know Arndt was a “closet screenwriter.”) I believe it was about 15 years after graduating from NYU film school when he finally saw a feature he wrote get produced.

P.S. Next Christmas I’m going to ask for a one-day pass to sit in on a Pixar Brain Trust meeting.

Related Posts:
Screenwriting the Pixar Way (Part 2)
Toy Story 3’s Ohio Connection
Screenwriting Quote #135 (Michael Arndt)
Writing “Finding Nemo”
The Dark Side of Pixar & Disney
Beatles, King, Cody & 10,000 Hours (Diablo Cody proves they can be woman-years as well.)

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“What I react against in other people’s work, as a filmgoer, is when I see something in a movie that I feel is supposed to make me feel emotional, but I don’t believe the filmmaker shares that emotion. They just think the audience will.  And I think you can feel that separation. So any time I find myself writing something that I don’t really respond to, but I’m telling myself, ‘Oh yes, but the audience is going to like this,’ then I know I’m on the wrong track and I just throw it out.”
Writer/director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises)
Interview with Jeff Goldsmith
Best of Creative Screenwriting Volume 2

Related post: 40 Days of Emotion

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Here’s an exchange found in Creative Screenwriting magazine, Volume 4, #3 (Fall 1997) that should be an encouragement to you wherever you are writing in the world;

Geoff Jordan: You’ve written a couple of scripts set in Omaha, Nebraska. Why?
Alexander PayneBecause I kind of ‘get” Omaha’s world. If you’re going to make movies in whatever country you’re in, you want to somehow “capture” it. It’s kind of a cliche that early in your career you always go to your roots. It’s all about what you know, or think you know, even if you don’t. I just like Omaha. I’ve always lived here. I mean, my grandparents were here; my father was here. My whole life has been here. Even when I left to go to college at eighteen, I’ve always come back here. So, there’s a kind of constant thread that now, as I’m starting to make movies, it’s kind of fun to go back.

Since that interview, Payne has won two Oscars for his screenwriting; Sideways (2005) and The Descendants. Neither which happen to be set in Omaha as were his films Citizen Ruth, About Schmidt, and Election.

P.S. Bonus for readers of this blog in Greece; While Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska, he is of Greek decent and was born with the name Alexander Constantine Papadopoulos.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“You never know what’s going to be great and lasting. Everyone talks about being a writer, but sitting down and actually doing it is a much harder proposition. It’s like telling a filmmaker to get your hands on whatever you can. Don’t be a snob and say, you know, put yourself in debt for $20,000 for your student thesis film. If you can, get your hands on video or shoot Polaroids for that matter, put something together quickly to make it look like it’s a movie. It’s whatever you have to do to practice. It’s like anything, it’s very much a craftsmanship kind of art: You get better at it the more you do it. I’ve heard people give advice, like hearing Oliver Stone say that he writes everyday, even if he throws it away, because the practice of doing it is valuable—getting in that rhythm of doing it. They are not unwise words, really.”
Writer/ Director Neil LaBute  (In the Company of Men, Nurse Betty)
Best of Creative Screenwritng
Interviewed by Marty Nabhan & David F. Goldsmith

P.S. I moved the Q&A with Cindy Gustafson post into April, perhaps as early as next week.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: