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“There’s no movie that can’t be told through its emotions. And there’s no movie that succeeds that is told any other way. In my opinion.”  —Billy Ray I want to sneak in one more post before stepping back into a run of posts on Hamilton (and the emotional “I want” song My Shot.) This is […]

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“[When I was in my early 20s] my father told me to read a book called Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. . . . It was just so insightful about how screenwriting actually works. And I think I imitated Goldman’s style in a pretty thief kind of way. Reading his screenplays really taught […]

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The best advice I ever heard about writing came from Paddy Chayefsky — he, of Network and The Hospital. He also wrote Marty. (That’s three Oscars.) Chayefsky’s advice to writers was simple: Don’t think of it as art, think of it as work. Because when a writer is stuck and he or she calls in another writer for help, that second […]

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Billy Ray’s Directing Advice

“I read a phenomenal book called Directing Actors by Judith Weston, which I would recommend to anybody who wants to direct anything. And then I called up a bunch of young directors and said, ‘You don’t know me, my name is Billy Ray, I’m about to go direct a movie. Could I take you to lunch and […]

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“I’m a dinosaur. The things that I’m trying to achieve are not things that are terribly valued in my business. The window of opportunity for the movies that interest me is literally getting narrower and narrower by the day. If I could be happy making comic book movies, my life would be a lot easier. […]

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“Screenwriting is so hard. Anyone who’s ever done it or tried to do it learns very quickly how cruel it can be. It’s so dependent on things that are out of your control. I mean, the chemistry between actors, the director’s pacing, and all of a sudden you either look really good or really inept. […]

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The Billy Wilder Way

“I would have said to Billy Wilder – and I thank God I knew him and I loved him – about The Apartment: ‘I’ll tell you what, there’s no way a guy in an ad agency who rents his apartment out to his boss to take hookers and other people is ever going to be a […]

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“HOLLYWOOD is easy to hate, easy to sneer at, easy to lampoon.” Raymond Chandler’s essay Writers in Hollywood published in the Atlantic in 1945 I’m going to go out on a limb and say that novelist/screenwriter Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity) was not in a happy place when he wrote the essay  Writers in […]

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“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” Paul Auster If we rewind to 1928 and look at a 40-year-old Raymond Chandler, we do not see any proof that he is (or even is becoming) the writer Raymond Chandler. That is the writer […]

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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name “It’s Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda Today I’ll start a run of posts on Hamilton that began running on Disney+ last month. I was not fortunate enough to see the Broadway or touring versions of the musical, so […]

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