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My cure for writer's block is to step away from the thing I'm stuck on, usually a novel, and write something totally different. Besides fiction, I write poetry, screenplays, essays and journalism. It's usually not the writing itself that I'm stuck on, but thing I'm trying to write. So I often have four or five things going at once.
I write screenplays in the middle of the night.
In books, you can just wallow in dialogue, and you can just wallow in written words. In screenplays, every line has to serve the purpose of the line that's implied before it and the line that's implied after it. Maybe five lines have to do the work of fifty lines.
If I really considered myself a writer, I wouldn't be writing screenplays. I'd be writing novels.
While I filmed the 'Walker, Texas Ranger' series for eight and a half years, I had never had much time to read, except for screenplays of the episodes.
I actually think I'm probably more interested in structure than most people who write screenplays, because I think about it.
Being known as a writer did change the relationships I had with directors. The rap on actors is that they always want to inflate their parts. But when directors know you write screenplays and have a different view of things, you really get invited into the huddle in a much fuller way. And those collaborations end in friendships.
I think of myself as a guy who tries to write screenplays and now has tried to direct one. Anything more than that is meaningless and it gets in the way of being a real human being.
Because I'm the author of my screenplays I know what I'm looking for. It's true that I can be stubborn in demanding that I get what I want, but it's also a question of working with patience and love.
Writing screenplays is not my business. I've written half a dozen, and maybe half of those were made. But it was never a satisfying experience. It was just work. You're an employee. You would be told what to do. Studio execs would cross out my dialogue and put in their dialogue.
I've made seventeen or eighteen films now, only two of which have been original screenplays, all the others have been based on short stories or novels, and I find the long short story ideal for adaptation.
I've started movies without screenplays both on 'Clash' and on 'Hulk,' and that is tremendously stressful because you have a tendency to overcompensate with effects. You haven't tested it in your head. You didn't run it over and over again and covered all of the plot holes and figure it out. It's a marathon that you sprint.
I wrote one terrible manuscript after another for a decade and I guess they gradually got a little less terrible. But there were many, many unpublished short stories, abandoned screenplays and novels... a Library of Congress worth of awful literature.
Although I write screenplays, I don't think I'm a very good writer.
I think I would like to write screenplays, books, really anything.
I find screenplays easy to write, my novels being very visual. You see what people look like. The physical action is described.
I do have screenplays I've written that never saw the light of day, but I don't usually go back to them. When I've told a story, I want to tell another story.
Writing screenplays makes me a better musician because it clears my head. After writing a movie, I go running back to music as fast as I can.
Every year I hear people complain that the quality of screenplays and movies is declining. In my opinion, the vast majority of scripts written - as well as most movies that are released - are not very original, well-written, or interesting. It has always been that way, and I think it always will be.
In the past, I'll admit, I've enjoyed being compared to the protagonists in my screenplays.
I don't generate a storyline and then fill it out in the course of writing. The story actually generates in the course of the writing. It's one of the reasons I've never been comfortable doing screenplays, because in order to get the contract for the screenplay, you have to sit down and tell them what's going to happen.
God is a freaking character, with enough foibles, tantrums, and paradoxical behaviors to supply a thousand screenplays. But who do you cast?
I'd done table reads for my own screenplays, and I always thought they were so much fun. Why couldn't we do these for other classic screenplays and bring them to life? You can experience live theater, where you get to see plays produced by different directors and different casts, but there's really nothing like that for movie scripts.
I began writing fictional stories and little screenplays when I was in fifth grade.
In my office in Florida I have, I think, 30 manuscript piles around the room. Some are screenplays or comic books or graphic novels. Some are almost done. Some I'm rewriting. If I'm working with a co-writer, they'll usually write the first draft. And then I write subsequent drafts.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
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