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Archive for the ‘Screenwriting Quotes’ Category

“I’m the kind of guy who wants to know the entire movie before I write it.”
Screenwriter Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith podcast

P.S. Peele also said on that podcast that while he wrote the first draft of Get Out in 2 1/2—3 months, the idea had been kicking around in his head for five years. “Follow the fun,” is his bonus writing advice.

P.P.S. Just to point out how different writers are, Stephen King says that the story comes to him as he writes his novels. He’s the first reader as well as the writer. That’s the exact opposite method that Jordan Peele used. “Different strokes for different folks.”

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The first book I ever read in creative writing class was Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and my favorite chapter from that is ‘Shitty First Drafts.’ So I have no problem writing a terrible first draft. I pretty much journal until I get to the point when I say, Okay, now there needs to be a first draft of this….Once I’m in the writing phase of something, I do try to write something every day, seven days a week, even of it’s terrible. I think it’s important to stay in the world of the characters.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Written by February/March 2017 
Interview with Ernest Hardy

Related posts:

Bird by Bird
Writing Quote #27 (Anne Lamott)
Screenwriting Quote #58 (Anne Lamott)
La La Liberty City 

Scott W. Smith

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“Who is your hero, what does he want, and what stands in his way?”
Three-time Oscar winning screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky (Network)
From the book The Craft of the Screenwriter by John Brady

Note: I pulled this quote from my 2009 post, Starting Your Screenplay.

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“Always and consciously, I try to hook the audience in the first five minutes. I want them right from the start to feel something—BOOM! I want an explosion right at the beginning. I always what that.”
Writer/actor Gene Wilder (Young Frankenstein)

Between the years that playwright Tennessee Williams and screenwriter Diablo Cody graduating from the University of Iowa there was this quirky actor named Gene Wilder who also studied theater and communications and graduated from the Iowa City school on his way to becoming a Hollywood star and playing the iconic character Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971).

More about Wilder and his career tomorrow.

Scott W. Smith

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“When I first meet with the scriptwriter, I never tell him anything, even if I feel there’s a lot to be done. Instead I ask him the same questions I’ve asked myself: What is the story about? What did you see? What was your intention? Ideally, if we do this well, what do you hope the audience will feel, think, sense? In what mode do you want them to leave the theater?”
Director Sidney Lumet (Network, The Verdict)
Making Movies 

P.S. This quote is actually a nice bridge between the worlds of podcasting/radio and filmmaking. One of the things that makes Ira Glass’s work stand out is he is known to sometimes ask over 150 questions to decide if a person or topic is worthy of a radio program on This American Life. That and he’s also said to have a 40% kill rate of shows they start to produce but do materialize in a way that is worthy of the program. The great thing about asking questions is they’re quite inexpensive.

Related posts:
‘Out on a Wire’ Podcast (A good list of sample questions to ask?)
The Major of Central Dramatic Question
Screenwriting Quote #194 (John Jarrell)
Is It a Movie?
What is it about? (An Oscar-winner weighs in on asking questions.)
What’s Changed (Tip #102)

Scott W. Smith

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 “I put no organization to the writing process. The writing is done on the fly.”
Oscar & Emmy-winner Aaron Sorkin (on writing teleplays for The West Wing)
The West Wing Script Book

page 151

P.S. While Sorkin may have been writing on the fly for The West Wing because he knew the characters and there is the regular TV grind of cranking out work, for his feature film scripts he does have at least one tried and true organizational way to add to his writing process:

“There are index cards everywhere in Aaron Sorkin’s office. Index cards for scenes from films going back to 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War. The writer likes to use those cards, tacked to a large corkboard, to keep track of key elements. Social Network’s pivotal scenes are still up there, with notes that read, ‘Mark and Erica in bar,’ ‘Mark walks back to dormitory’ and ‘Mark begins drinking, blogging, hacking.'”
Inside Aaron Sorkin’s Writing Process by Christy Grosz
The Hollywood Reporter, 1/8/2011

Related posts:
Screenwriting Via Index Cards 

Scott W. Smith 

 

 

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“I wrote [Swingers] if I recall in right about two weeks, and I wrote [Chef] just as quickly. I get scared that I’m going to stop writing, and I have a lot of unfinished screenplays that I’ve said, ‘Let me take a day off…” And with [Swingers and Chef] I kept myself [writing] everyday until I got a first draft out. Because there’s not a lot of big plot points in any of them them, it’s all character and situational, so I wanted to make sure I had a first draft done—even if it was terrible. You know, when you re-write it’s a different part of your brain, but when you’re writing you just want to get it out and get through it. It’s a real endurance, wind-sprint all the way through.”
Producer/Writer/Director/Actor Jon Favreau 
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith

Related posts:

Screenwriting Quote #195 (Bob Nelson) “You try and write your first really bad draft as quickly as possible.”
Writing ‘Rocky’ “I was young, and I wrote it in a fury…The original [Rocky] draft was only about 89 pages long, and it was rather hastily thrown together.”— Sylvester Stallone
Screenwriting Quote #160 (Justin Zackman) “I wrote [The Bucket List] very quickly, just in a few weeks.”
Baseball, Bergman & Bull Durham  “I wrote it quickly (10 weeks), without an outline, and we pretty much shot the first draft.” Ron Shelton on his Oscar-nominated Bull Durham script
‘Who Cares If It’s Garbage?’—Edward Burns
Screenwriting Quote #164 (Dan Fogelman) “I kind of vomit it out when I’m writing… and work on fixing it after.”

Scott W. Smith

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