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From Professional Writers

Five Pros offer Five great pieces of Screenwriting Advice:

  • 1) “Write whatever you want” – Jonathan Nolan.
    • Jonathan Nolan, co-screenwriter of blockbuster mega-hits THE DARK KNIGHT, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and INTERSTELLAR:

      “Write what you know” is the least useful maxim for writers. It’s nonsense. You should write whatever you want.

  • 2) “Make stuff up, but keep it real”– Tony Gilroy.
    • Tony Gilroy, screenwriter of the JASON BOURNE franchise and sci-fi disaster flick, ARMAGEDDON:

      The quality of your writing will be directly related to your understanding of human behavior. You need to become a journalist for the movie that is in your head. You need to report on it; every scene has to be real.

  • 3) “Everyone has a reason to live” – Joss Whedon.
    • Joss Whedon. The man responsible for Hollywood mega-hits, THE AVENGERS, and its sequel, AGE OF ULTRON:

      Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history… But if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.

  • 4) “Follow your characters around, let them drive the action” – P. T. Anderson.
    • Paul Thomas Anderson recalled once how his friend John C. Reilly, came up with a series of improvised sketches:

      Eventually I started writing all that stuff down. A lot of Jim’s dialogue is based on that improvisation. It really is a pretty f*cking cool way to work. We’ve gotta try that again.

  • 5) “Conflict reveals character” – Robert McKee.
    • Screenwriting guru, Robert McKee:

      True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.

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