Posts Tagged ‘James Lipton’

“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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The following quotes are pulled from Garry Marshall’s book, Wake Me When It’s Funny:

“I don’t storyboard. I don’t lay out each days shots, and I don’t always follow the dozen of other so-called rules of directing. I improvise as I go along while always remembering to protect the structure of the story and script and the integrity of the characters. Every character must want something and the main character must want to the most noble thing of all. There must be constant heat and tension that puts the main character’s future in jeopardy until the end of the film. Those were the major rules that guided me on each film I directed.”
Garry Marshall

“On Frankie and Johnny, one of the first questions I asked Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino was, ‘So, fine actors tell me about your lives.’ I wanted to know their hobbies, interests, and quirks so I could put them in the film to enhance the characters. It’s much more difficult to teach actors new hobbies…Michelle Pfeiffer told me she lived to bowl, so in Frankie and Johnny, we wrote in a scene at a bowling alley.”
Garry Marshall

(Note while actors are great at acting, performing an athletic feat with skill requires muscle memory. It often takes years (or intense training for several months) to make an actor look like they know what they’re doing playing tennis, throwing a football/baseball, surfing, and the like. Not an uncommon casting error in big and low budget films and TV programs. )

“I went from being a wise old sage of television to the new kid on the block in film. One minute I was at the top of the totem pole and the next minute I wasn’t even on it. I was forty-seven years old and regardless of what anybody tells you, to start a new career at forty-seven is daunting. Moving into film was like the first day at a new school where everybody knows the rules but you. They also seemed to know each other. When you don’t know the rules, you have to do your homework. I asked all my friends for advice on directing. The designer and producer Polly Platt reminded me of William Wyler’s words: ‘The key to directing is to resist the temptation to be a swell fellow.’ Everyone wants to be liked, but the key to directing is that you don’t want everyone to like you all the time. If you want to be adored on a movie set, don’t be a director, be the caterer. Everyone loves lunch.”
Garry Marshall

P.S. Richard Gere (who Marshall directed in two films) was asked by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio what his favorite word was and Gere replied, “Lunch.” On student films (and micro budget features) you might be the director and the caterer. One of the most practical things I learned in film school was to properly feed the crew. Especially when you aren’t paying full rates (or they are volunteering their time) BTW—True of small video shoots as well. A couple weeks ago I worked on a nine person crew for a reality program and made sure they were feed. (Actually, nine people is bigger than some micro-features.)

P.P.S. Michelle Pfeiffer lives to bowl—who knew? Marshall didn’t just toss a bowling scene in the movie, he chose to use the bowling alley as a place for a key piece of character revelation. (Warning—Michelle can cuss like a league bowler, too.)

Scott W. Smith

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