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Posts Tagged ‘Walter Hill’

“[Shane Black] isn’t Hollywood’s most prolific writer — he only has a handful of credits, including the first Lethal WeaponKiss Kiss Bang Bang, and The Last Boy Scout— but for a time, he was its most highly paid, and the $4 million he earned for the 1996 action film The Long Kiss Goodnight is still a Hollywood record for a spec script. How did Black do it? Simple: He made reading his screenplays way too much fun.”
Kyle Buchanan
Why Iron Man 3 Director Shane Black Was Once Hollywood’s Hottest Screenwriter

“I recommend if you haven’t read it go back and read Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , the original screenplay by William Goldman who was sort of my mentor, my rabbi, along with James L. Brooks. There’s plenty to be found in these old writers especially Goldman. Walter Hill and William Goldman are two of my favorites and if you’re going to write screenplays, or if you already are and you want a boost or a shot in the arm—look at the structure, they way they’re written, the style of those two authors—Walter Hill and William Goldman— because between the two of them they account for the bulk of the stylistic stuff I do on the page as a writer.”
Writer/Director Shane Black speaking to students in Minneapolis in the above video

Here are a few examples pointed out in Kyle Buchanan’s Vulture article of Black’s writing style:

Joshua  and Riggs. Two soldiers. Their eyes lock. And you better hand on to your popcorn, boys and girls, because it’s about to get ugly.
Lethal Weapon

Dark. Depressing. Sprawl of furniture. Stack after stack of sports magazines. Drop all your belongings out of a plane. They will land like this.
The Last Boy Scout

The LEADER: a haggard-looking man sporting a soup stain on his tie, whoops, that’s the design, sorry.
The Long Kiss Goodnight

P.S. If you’ve never read William Goldman’s classic book Adventures in the Screen Trade make it your next read as it not only includes insights into screenwriting and the film industry, but his entire screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’ll give you a better jolt than a can of Red Bull—and cost about the same amount. (You can find a used copy on Amazon for under three bucks.)

Related post:

Screenwriting Quote #118 (William Goldman)
William Goldman Stands Alone
Screenwriting Quote #65
Shane Black & Willie Mays (A word of warning on trying to copy Black’s style)
Meet Your First Audience (Tip #36)
Descriptive Writing (Frank Darabont)
Descriptive Writing (Stephen King)
Descriptive Writing—Part 1 (tip #22)

Scott W. Smith

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