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Archive for the ‘Screenwriting Quotes’ Category

“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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“You try and write your first really bad draft as quickly as possible, with some care—not just sloppy, throw it on. But take your time and steadily get through a few pages everyday and when you’re done you’ll have your 100-120 pages—whatever it is—and it’s going to probably be pretty bad. All of my first drafts are awful. Then you have something to mold, then you have something to play with. The re-writing to me is the fun part. I hate writing that first draft. You’ll have this idea you think is great and you’ll start writing it and halfway through you start to doubt yourself. The main thing is to push through, maybe give it a few days before you re-read it and then if you want to keep going just get back in and start re-writing scene by scene.”
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith

Related posts:

Fire Your Inner Critic
Get it Right Vs. Get it Written (Tip #91)
‘Who Cares If It’s Garbage?’—Edward Burns

Scott W. Smith

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“When analyzing any film, two specific questions need to be asked of each beat — 1) What is the ultimate purpose of each scene? 2) What does it accomplish structurally?…There are no random beats in a great screenplay.”
Screenwriter John Jarrell (Romeo Must Die)
Tough Love Screenwriting: The Real Deal from a Twenty-Year Pro
Page 164

This ends posts the past two weeks centered around Jarrell’s book, and as a bonus, below is how he answers those two questions regarding the second scene of the David Ayer written movie Training Day.

A) Alonzo (Denzel Washington) immediately establishes the balance of power between them — veteran/new guy, strong/weak, big dog/little dog, top/bottom. This keeps Hoyt’s character off-balance from the very start.

B) Hoyt’s lackluster drunk-stop tale fails to impress. Why is this seemingly innocent exchange of special note? Because this normal, first day on the job meet-and-greet actually confirms Hoyt’s lack of experience for Alonzo.

Think Big Picture. As we’ll later learn, Alonzo has plotted out the entirety of this training day well in advance. But to make it all work, he needs a young, green cop he can fully manipulate and control.
John Jarrell

Related posts:
‘Tough Love Screenwriting’
‘Learn from the very best’
Five Must-Read Screenplays If for some ridiculous reason you haven’t seen or read Training Day, put this book down RIGHT NOW and go do it.”—Jarrell
Screenwriting with Brilliant Simplicity
‘Little Green Envelopes of Love’

Scott W. Smith

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Can you have a day job (or a night job) and still find time to write? Yes.

“I was a sound engineer. That was my day job when I started writing. I sort of did my day job every night. I would write from ten to six every day and at six, leave my apartment and head down to one of these rock clubs I worked at and mix for bands, or I would go into my studio… I had a little studio that I started with friends on the Lower East Side, and record bands there and I remember we did a series of Garnier shampoo commercials that like paid my rent for a year.”
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)
Interview with Brad Brevet/ Rope of Silicon

In case you missed it, Moore (whose roots are in Chicago) wrote from “ten to six everyday”—that’s eight hours a day, 40 hours a week if he did that five days a week. Over 160 hour of writing a month, all while working another job that paid his bills.

The Imitation Game was written as a spec script and was chosen as the top script on the 2011 The Black List. For what it’s worth, Moore’s degree from Columbia University is in religious studies.

Related post:
“I can’t keep handling this…rejection”—Graham Moore
“Art is Work”—Milton Glaser
The Breakfast Club for Writers (2.0) Elmore Leonard on writing two hours before work each morning— for ten years!—before his writing career really took off.
Iowa Kutcher on Jobs/Work —”Opportunities look a lot like work.”
Screenwriter’s Work Ethic (Tip #2)
The 99% Focus Rule (Tip #70) Hint—it’s not screenwriting contests, screenwriting workshops, or screenwriting blogs and podcasts.

Scott W. Smith

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“I want my movies to be about regular people that are caught up in extraordinary moments in their lives, usually by their own doing. It’s not like a meteor movie where something’s coming from space that the people had nothing to do with. The characters have to either go right or left—there’s no option for them to stay where they are.”
Writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, A Most Violent Year)
Film Comment interview with Emma Myer

Related post:
David O. Russell on Character & Theme—”I always look for amazing characters who I find are fascinating, charming, flawed, romantic and in trouble.”

Scott W. Smith

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“I believe as long as you have a compelling story and talent, you could be on a farm in Iowa and start your screenwriting career. Although I now live and work in New York City, I originally got my start in Orlando, Florida.”
Amanda Caswell
How I Started My Screenwriting Career From Outside LA

Related Posts:

Outsider Paul Haggis & Your Voice I think it’s good for a writer to always be an outsider of some sort.”—Canadian-born screenwriter Paul Haggis
The Outsider Advantage
The World Outside of Hollywood Fine quote by The Graduate screenwriter Buck Henry
One Benefit of Being Outside Hollywood “(In Texas) you’re so removed you get to examine (how films are made) and say, ‘That doesn’t really make sense for us out here. Let’s do what makes sense.’ Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez
Why You Shouldn’t Move to L.A.
Screenwriting Outside L.A. 101 “I think that the Internet is going to effect the most profound change on the entertainment industries combined. And we’re all gonna be tuning into the most popular Internet show in the world, which will be coming from some place in Des Moines.” Steven Spielberg in 1991

Scott W. Smith

 

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“I am not in danger, Skyler—I am the danger.”
Walt (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad

“In the early days, especially writing the [Breaking Bad] pilot, I worried so much that Walt wouldn’t be likeable. It’s funny, I bent over backwards to give the audience reasons to sympathize with him. I was nervous – anxiety-ridden, as I typically am – that what I was saying in that script was interesting enough for the audience. Watching that first episode, I probably overdid that a bit. In hindsight, I’ve learned the audience will go along with a character like Walt so long as he remains interesting and active, and is capable about his business. People like competency. What is it people like about Darth Vader?  Is it that he’s so evil, or that he’s so good at his job? I think it might be the latter. All the fears I had – ‘Boy, no one’s gonna sympathize with this guy’– turned out to be unfounded, which was a very interesting revelation.”
Two-time Emmy winning producer/writer and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan
Rolling Stone article by Rob Tannenbaum

Related bonus quote: “Television is really good at protecting the franchise. It’s good at keeping the Korean War going for 11 seasons, like M*A*S*H. It’s good at keeping Marshal Dillon policing his little town for 20 years. By their very nature TV shows are open-ended. So I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to have a show that takes the protagonist and transforms him into the antagonist?”
Vince Gilligan on creating Breaking Bad
The Dark Art of Breaking Bad by David Segal
2011 New York Times 

Related posts:
Simple Stories/Complex Characters (Tip #95)
David O. Russell on Characters & Theme “I always look for amazing characters who I find are fascinating, charming, flawed, romantic and in trouble.”
Protagonist= Struggle
Movie Flaws, Personality & DNA “Scorsese is often called ‘America’s greatest director’ on the strength of a body of work in which all the characters in his movies are various degrees of wicked and miserable people.”—William Froug
Martin Luther King & Screenwriting (Tip #7) “Strong characters hold our interest in life and on the screen.” —Andrew Horton, Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay

Scott W. Smith

 

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