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Archive for November, 2018

“How did I learn screenwriting? Endless hours at the typewriter, then the computer, which came along later. It was really a lot of applied time and effort and self-study. Which is the way most people learn.”
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption)
The Best of Creative Screenwriting Interviews

And here’s a similar quote from Darabont that I think I originally found in Zen and the Art Screenwriting (Vol. 2) by William Froug:

“For me, it was a matter of years of trying to develop my writing in the same way that some people spend years learning to play the violin.”
Writer/director Frank Darabont (Co-creator of The Walking Dead)

Related posts:

Frank Darabont and ‘The Woman in the Room’
The Shawshank Redemption Payoff of $1 to #1
‘Television Used to Suck’—Frank Darabont
Descriptive Writing (Frank Darabont)
It’s a Wonderful Prison

Scott W. Smith

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If you haven’t seen the documentary Searching for Sugar Man yet check it out on Netflix this weekend. The 2012 film won the Oscar and the BAFTA for Best Documentary, and the Sundance Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best international documentary.  Among winning many other awards the film’s writer/director/editor Malik Bendjelloul also won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary from the DGA.

For whatever reason, I missed it when it first came out and had the benefit of not knowing (or remembering) the backstory on the film. It made for a great movie-watching experience. So if you haven’t seen it, don’t even watch the trailer below or read anything else about it—just experience it.

Scott W. Smith

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Stephen King on Theme

. . . I’m quite sure that I never thought much about theme before getting roadblocked on [writing] The Stand. I suppose I thought such things were for Better Minds and Bigger Thinkers. I’m not sure I would have gotten to it as soon as I did, had I not been desperate to save my story. I was astounded at how really useful ‘thematic thinking’ turned out to be.”
Stephen King
On Writing, pages 206-207

P.S. The one warning King states in his book is “[S]tarting with the questions and thematic concerns is a recipe for bad fiction. Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme.”  Just one more view on the concept of writing (or re-writing) with a theme in mind. One of the reasons I love touching on theme on this blog is because there are so many differing views on the subject. It ranges from writers who do start with theme, to writers who say theme is never a consideration when they’re writing.

BTW—Speaking of Stephen King, look what A Quiet Place screenwriters Scott Beck and Bryan Woods are working on now…

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 5.16.00 PM

Related posts:
Screenwriters Bryan Woods & Scott Beck on Theme
Ryan Coogler on the Theme of ‘Black Panther’
David Mamet vs. Aaron Sorkin/Judd Apatow/Martin Scorsese on Theme
Writing from Theme 
More Thoughts on Theme
Michael Arndt on Theme
Diablo Cody on Theme
Scott Frank on Theme
Sidney Lumet on Theme

Scott W. Smith

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