Two years ago I wrote a post called Can Screenwriting Be Taught? and I just found another quote to toss into that mix:
“It is possible to examine how certain dramatists have constructed material in a way that at times has seized the interest of the audience. If they have also succeeded in seizing and retaining your interest, you should take a closer look at just how they did this. Though drama cannot be taught as such, it can definitely be learned the way most skills are learned: by examination of others whose work you admire.”
Screenwriter/ Director Alexander Mackendrick
(Sweet Smell of Success, The Ladykillers & Oscar-nominated screenplay The Man in The White Suit)
If that doesn’t convince you would it help if I told you that, according to the book Orson Welles: Hello Americans, Welles watched John Ford’s Stagecoach 40 times before and during the making of Citizen Kane? Frank Darabont says that while making The Shawshank Redemption he watched Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellows every weekend for inspiration.
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) said of the movie Blade Runner “It’s a film I’ve seen hundreds of times. I’m one of those people that knows every single detail of that movie.”