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“Let me tell you the super story that Cliff Robertson told me a dozen years ago, and I think I’m giving the credit properly. It was a story he had been told by Rosalind Russell. I think he met her during the filming of Picnic. She said, ‘Do you know what makes a good movie?’ And he answered something like, ‘I don’t know—good script, good actors, good cameraman, and good directors, etc., etc.’ ‘No,’ she said, ‘ A couple of moments that people remember, that they can take with them, is what makes a good movie.'”
William Goldman (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride)
The Craft of the Screenwriter
Interview with John Brady
page 149

 

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The Craft of the Screenwriter was one of the first books I ever bought on screenwriting. It’s older than some of the readers of this blog. I picked it up when I was in film school in 1982 when screenwriting resources were limited. (The Craft of the Screenwriter is worth having in your library and you can pick it up for a few cents on Amazon—plus $3.99 for shipping, of course.)

It has been amazing to watch the cottage industry related to screenwriting pop up over the years. Books, seminars, DVDs, blogs, etc. make this the golden age of learning. Has that translated into the golden age of screenwriting? You tell me.

“The whole point of theater is, to paraphrase Arthur Miller, to bring one shred of meaning or insight into the otherwise meaningless life of the audience.”

Paddy Chayefsky (Three time Oscar-winning screenwriter; Network, Hospital, Marty)
The Craft of the Screenwriter
Interview with John Brady
page 53

Who am I to disagree with Miller and Chayefsky, but I’m wouldn’t go as far as to say the lives of the audience are meaningless. (And I’m not sure Hitchcock would agree with them.) Though I do agree with the provocative statement that theater (and movies and TV programs) at their best can shed a ray of light in the dark.

Scott W. Smith


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When John Brady interviewed Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader one of his questions was “What’s the toughest part when you’re writing?”

Schrader: “Getting an idea. A metaphor. Having one or two lines that describe a film—that’s the hardest part. Once you get that, if you have any common sense, you can execute it.”

                                                       The Craft of the Screenwriter
                                                        Interviews with Six Celebrated Screenwriters
                                                        by John Brady
                                                        Page 282 

 

Check out the much longer post Where Do Ideas Come From? (A+B=C)

 


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