Posts Tagged ‘Minority Report’

Merry Christmas—50 weeks early. When I was driving through Nashville last November after a production I had lunch with William Akers (Your Screenplay Sucks!) and he told me about a video of Orson Welles doing a Q&A with students at USC back in 1981. I’d never seen or even heard of the video, so I figured it would be a great way to start 2014 by pulling a few quotes this week. (Below is the complete hour and a half video.)

“I never sit down and plan with a cinematographer. I had storyboards in [Citizen] Kane only because I was made to. I believe I’m the only director—that I know of—who does this particular thing, which is probably the worst way to go about it. I didn’t begin this way but I’ve developed this way. I light a set with a cameraman before I decide where anybody will go. And then when the set looks right to me I put the actors where I think they ought to be. I don’t put the actors in and then light the set—it’s the exact opposite. Because the set is all we have besides the actors and it ought to have a chance. The only way to give it a chance is to begin with it. That’s my theory anyway.”
Producer/director/writer/actor Orson Welles
At the 44:38 mark when asked about working with planning the look of The Trial (1962) with cinematographer Edmond Richard.

Welles wrote The Trial screenplay based on the 1925 uncompleted novel by Franz Kafka and the movie starred Anthony Perkins as a 30-year-old man arrested without knowing why. (A little Orwell, Orson, Obama mix with the novel 1984, a touch of the 2002 film Minority Report where you’re arrested before you commit a crime, and some 2013 news of NSA spying. Nothing new under the sun.

Now that Screenwriting from Iowa…and Other Unlikely Places enters this month into its seventh year I will be writing more filmmaking posts. Toying with a few other ideas to take things up a notch but welcome any ideas and suggestions readers have to make this a more helpful site for screenwriters and filmmakers. You can email me at info@scottwsmith.com. Best wishes on your screenwriting and filmmaking this year.

P.S. A little Anthony Perkins trivia; Like Fred Rogers, Perkins attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. (Where I just happen to live.) If you’re looking for a quirky creative challenge today, write a scene where the star of the thriller Psycho and the star of children’s TV program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood are college roommates. Bonus points if you can do a mash-up video of the Hitchcock classic and the PBS show. Working title: It’s a Beautiful Day at the Bates Motel.

Related posts:
10 Cinematography Tips (Roger Deakins)
Screenwriting Quote #38
Stagecoach Revisited (2.0) Welles watched the John Ford classic 40 times while making Citizen Kane.

Scott W. Smith

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“I was a novelist during the late ’80s and early ’90s, two of which sold to Hollywood. The first one was Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger, which sold to Wendy Finderman who produced Forrest Gump. The second was called The Man in the Window, and Scott Rudin had that for a while. So a light went on in my head after the second one that I must be writing stuff that follows some sort of Hollywood template. I moved away from writing books and bought one, How to Make a Good Script Great by Linda Seger—which is a great book. My novel writing background gave me an in to the industry, so I sat down and started writing screenplays. The first one I wrote sold for a little bit of money in 1993. Once I figured out the medium and got better at it, I was able to sell another one. I always had a sense that I was a screenwriter in waiting, rather that a novelist who would become a screenwriter.”
Screenwriter Jon Cohen (Minority Report)
Christopher Wehner Interview in Creative Screenwriting May/June 2002

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“When it comes to screenwriting, it’s the writing. You don’t hear people who want to play professional tennis ask to be introduced to the head of Wimbledon. No, they’re out there hitting a thousand forehands and a thousand backhands. But for some reason, in the case of screenwriting, people don’t think that way. The format makes it appear deceptively easy. If they can type something up in the format that has a beginning, middle, and end, and has some dialogue in between, they think they’ve  written a screenplay. But if you’re a writer with an original voice, and with those other four qualities I just mentioned, somehow, some way, the world is going to find you.”
                                Scott Frank
                                Oscar nominated screenwriter (Out of Sight)  
                                As well as Get Shorty, Minority Report, Marley & Me
                                Interview with William Froug
                                zen and the art of screenwriting 2
                                page 53-54 

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