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I majored in screenwriting and playwriting in school - and wanted to make films as a career. But when I directed my first short in college - which was called 'Extras' - I lost thousands of dollars and made an unsatisfying and incomplete film.
The challenge of screenwriting is to say much in little and then take half of that little out and still preserve an effect of leisure and natural movement.
I was about 14 when I started with a theater group; it was like a stage group on the weekends alongside school. And it was run by a group of guys who'd been to drama school themselves in London. So they introduced us to techniques that they'd learn about, and they kind of informed us about improvisation and screenwriting and all of that stuff.
For me, screenwriting is all about setting characters in motion and as a writer just chasing them. They should tell you what they'll do in any scene you put them in.
'The Fourth Hand' was a novel that came from twenty years of screenwriting concurrently with whatever novel I'm writing.
Screenwriting is the most prized of all the cinematic arts. Actually, it isn't, but it should be.
Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out.
Paul Thomas Anderson
What I always studied in screenwriting from my mentor John Glavin was that the most interesting characters are characters with shades of gray.
I've always been a writer, I've always been a storyteller, but I never thought about screenwriting.
I was a screenwriting major at Georgetown, and I was in class with some really strong writers like Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote 'The Dark Knight' with Chris, his brother. He wrote 'The Prestige,' the story for 'Memento.'
I don't mind doing scripted material. It's actually kind of a relief, because improvising is a little bit like screenwriting on your feet.
John C. Reilly
I don't think screenwriting is therapeutic. It's actually really, really hard for me. It's not an enjoyable process.
Screenwriting is a much more collaborative effort. When you write a novel, it's just you, with input from your editor.
I tend to jot down moments, lines, interactions that don't really make any sense. I try and explain these scattered notes to my close friends, and they become more and more logical. I see screenwriting as a bit like a math equation which I have to solve.
Screenwriting is always about what people say or do, whereas good writing is about a thought process or an abstract image or an internal monologue, none of which works on screen.
I didn't write 'Snow White' for any class, but I got bitten by the screenwriting bug and wrote a couple of scripts in my spare time instead of going to keg parties or something.
The history of screenwriting - of what we do - is more than 100 years old. It's thousands of years old, going back to Sophocles and Euripedes. I believe the only - the only - separation for being a dramatist is reading drama.
I think, in a weird way, the reason I was drawn to screenwriting and the reason I really love doing it is because I love writing dialogue.
I became a script writer with absolutely no idea of how to write a script whatsoever. I still feel a bit of an outsider in that regard. If I can maintain that approach to screenwriting, it can continue to be enjoyable.
I think if I've worked anything through with screenwriting it's that I'm not going to be able to work anything through.
I've never read a book or attended a class on screenwriting. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I like what I've got going on naturally and want to protect that. The one question I will ask myself as I'm re-reading a script for the 60th time is, 'Am I entertained? Still?' If the answer is 'yes,' I'll assume other people will be, too.
I first came to cinema as a passionate filmgoer, when I was a child. Then, when I was a very young man, I became a film critic precisely because of my knowledge of cinema. I did better than others because of this. Then I moved on to screenwriting. I wrote a film with Sergio Leone, 'Once Upon a Time in the West.' And then I moved to directing.
There's a satisfaction I get from writing fiction that I will never get from screenwriting.
Even with college, the reason I wanted to go so badly is because I wanted to major in film. I want to take screenwriting classes and learn more about behind the scenes stuff, because I love people like Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig who are able to write a lot of their own material and be so involved in everything they do.
I'm very lucky. I actually like screenwriting. I rarely feel a sense of doom going to my desk.
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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