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Archive for the ‘Screenwriting Quotes’ Category

“I had a wonderful teacher, Irwin Blacker, and he was feared by everyone at the school because he took a very interesting position. He gave you the screenplay form, which I hated so much, and if you made one mistake on the form, you flunked the class. His attitude was that the least you can learn is the form. ‘I can’t grade you on the content. I can’t tell you whether this is a better story for you to write than that, you know? And I can’t teach you how to write the content, but I can certainly demand that you do it in the proper form.’ He never talked about character arcs or anything like that; he simply talked about telling a good yarn, telling a good story. He said, ‘Do whatever you need to do. Be as radical and as outrageous as you can be. Take any kind of approach you want to take. Feel free to flash back, feel free to flash forward, feel free to flash back in the middle of a flashback. Feel free to use narration, all the tools are there for you to use.’ I used to tell a screenwriting class, ‘I could teach you all the basic techniques in fifteen minutes. After that, it’s up to you.’”
Screenwriter John Milius (Apocalypse Now )
Creative Screenwriting, March/April 2000

Related posts:

Screenwriting #142 (Irwin R. Blacker)
The Four Functions of Dialogue 
Screenwriting Quote #14 (Irwin R. Blacker)

Scott W. Smith

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“It’s true I rewrite a lot. You know, I don’t have that kind of talent that, you know,  I saw of kids who could draw beautiful pictures…my talent is I just try and try, and try and try again, and little by little it comes to something that I think is okay.”
Five time Oscar winning writer/director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather)
Inside the Actor’s Studio interview with James Lipton

Related post: That Time William Goldman Got a ‘C’ in Creative Writing

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Need is undoubtedly the most common, the most useful, the most malleable, and the most easily understood and accepted basis for a story…In The African Queen two completely diverse personalities are forced to ride the length of a dangerous African river in a dilapidated boat—that is the situation. Their need is two-fold; first, to leave the territory, which is occupied by the enemy, and second, to blow up the German gunboat at the end of their journey. The conflict is also two-fold; first that of the diametrically opposed characters, and second, their battles with the perils of the journey, By the end of the film they have conquered the situation, fulfilled their needs, and resolved both their physical and personality conflicts.”
Director Edward Dmytrk (The Caine Mutiny)
On Screen Writing
page 20

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“There’s a giant group of people who want to be writers, and a smaller group who actually write, and an even smaller group who are actually going to strive so hard that someone’s going to pay attention to them…I was obsessed at one point. I took every course, I read magazines, and I just kept going to movies. I remember at one point, I sat down and wrote down (copied) Rocky beat by beat.”
Steve Koren (Bruce Almighty, Seinfeld)
Tales from the Script
page 273

 

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“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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