Thursday, October 18, 2007

Final Lessons from AFF

There's just too much. Pages and pages of notes, I took! I'll never get all of them transcribed and posted and based on my Sitemeter stats, not too many people are actually reading them anyway. Why? Because the screenwriters who are interested in what the pros had to say AFF were THERE!

So, with the exception of one more post on what the Texas Film Commission is doing, this is it for my AFF posts. I didn't want to end without including these additional comments and info though that made a powerful impression on me but may not merit an entire post -

Daniel Petrie, Jr - Okay aside from learning that if you're going to pour shots for the whole room, bring more than one bottle, he had some good advice are REWRITES. Rewrites is where it's at, he says, so give yourself permission to write a really sh*tty first draft. He says outlines are valuable for him because there are days when the process may become so tough that he actually "hates" writing. No kidding. He really said that. Thought you were the only one?

Scott Alexander - Even though his best projects came as a result of TREATMENTS, he despises them because it's so difficult to convey a tone in a treatment. Scott reminds writers that no one script is the be all/end all and said that getting a film made doesn't mean your phone will ring. You'd better have another script and at least two pitches ready.

Aline Brosh McKenna - Says that if the story is well defined and characters have clear goals, DIALOGUE will take care of itself. But if the writer doesn't understand what the characters want, the dialogue will be dead.

Nicholas Kazan - Says that if you start out thinking, "I'm going to write great DIALOGUE", then you're screwed. But if you write from play and have fun with your scenes, the dialogue will naturally be good.

Terry Rossio - Says that if you write characters whose inherent natures are to say interesting things -- Hannibal Lector, Jack Sparrow, etc - then DIALOGUE isn't so painful because you give your characters license to speak and yourself license to write really cool stuff for them to say.

Gregg Rounds - Says there are a million reasons why any one person may think your script is crap. Don't give up on a single person's opinion or any two or three opinions. But, if the majority say it's crap, then start evaluating what you're doing.

Robin Swicord - Says there will always be objections to the way you're doing something. Do it anyway. Have fun. If it doesn't sell, do it anyway. If people don't make movies like that, do it anyway.

John Milius - Still writes everything by hand on a yellow legal pad. No script software. The further along in the script he gets, the more minimalist his writing becomes but every bit is done by hand. I hadn't done that since high school so I wrote this post out by hand just for grins and then typed it into Blogger. Never again. Never.


The Moviequill said...

I outline in pencil on to paper, rough out scenes before I type into the software... good stuff here, well worth attending M... Terry was there, huh?

Unk said...

I started out with a pen and paper on legal pad.

Then I bought a Commodore 64 and never looked back.


MaryAn Batchellor said...

This post alone on pen and paper was killer. Yeah, Terry was there. Did a whole post on Terry but even that doesn't cover everything. People worship the guy for what he does. I like him for who he is.

chrissoth said...

And all of this on




MaryAn Batchellor said...

Clever. Now I feel so dirty!

Rochelle Smith said...

I'm a pen and paper guy (a la Milius). The only difference is, I've no preference for any specific kind of paper -- I'll write on anything I can get my hands on.

George Lucas has said that he still uses the yellow legal pad method as well.