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“There’s a time to go to the typewriter. It’s like a dog: the way a dog before it craps wanders around in circles—a piece of earth, an area of grass, circles it for a long time before it squats. It’s like that: figuratively circling the typewriter getting ready to write, and then finally one sits down. I think I sit down to the typewriter when it’s time to sit down to the typewriter.”

— Edward Albee, The Art of Theater No. 4, from The Paris Review interview.

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Edward Albee: “There’s a time to go to the typewriter. It’s like a dog: the way a dog before it craps wanders around in circles…”

Here is a clip that I stumbled upon some time ago that I kept to heart because… jeeze, it’s rather great, honestly. This is Iron Man’s father — Robert Downey Sr., who is a wonderful director who some may or may not know. He’s cult filmmaker and there’s a good reason why. If you have a chance, seek out some of this works like: Putney Swope or even Moment to Moment (Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight). Definitely great for those who like a more experimental/surrealistic approach to filmmaking.

Anyway, the main goods…

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(originally from: http://www.incidentalcomics.com/2013/02/performance-enhancing-drugs-for-writers.html)

Last week I finished Ernest Hemingway’s A Movable Feast — a memoir of his time in 1920s Paris. It’s a short book and it has some neat insights about what he did and the people he hung out with — but you see it through his particular point of view (especially how F. Scott Fitzgerald is portrayed — I can’t tell if it’s truthful but it’s pretty damn hilarious). But for me (and whoever else read the book), the takeaway passage happens roughly near the beginning:

“I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.

But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.

It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”

This guy.

Simple, huh? It’s a neat little writing mantra to decorate your typewriter with or to add to your wall of “inspiring” quotes… that is, if you do that kind of thing, heh heh heh ;)

the front porch theory

February 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

There is a romantic image when we think of the ideal institution (for my case, film school). We think of the teaching staff, the courses, the lifestyle, and the opportunities to improve our craft. Even when reality kicks in and the ugly parts bleed through, we can still make the best of a situation. It’s only a matter of asking yourself: Is the glass half empty or half full?

The perfect mixture is when you have the right amount of passion for the subject at hand — for yourself and your fellow colleagues. It’s only when these two things are met that we have those wonderful conversations and discussions that spice everything up.

Of the people I’ve talked to, we all agreed that it was this thing — the moments outside of the class — that helped made the program valuable. This is what Front Porch theory is — a term borrowed from Francis Ford Coppola:

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Found this post on Go Into The Story. Out of the links, this site in particular had a few extra goodies. About 29 screenplays (so far) to enjoy. Get them while you can.

I had a wonderful teacher, Irwin Blacker, and he was feared by everyone at the school because he took a very interesting position.

He gave you the screenplay form, which I hated so much, and if you made one mistake on the form, you flunked the class.

His attitude was that the least you can learn is the form.

‘I can’t grade you on the content. I can’t tell you whether this is a better story for you to write than that, you know? And I can’t teach you how to write the content, but I can certainly demand that you do it in the proper form.’

He never talked about character arcs or anything like that; he simply talked about telling a good yarn, telling a good story.

He said, ‘Do whatever you need to do. Be as radical and as outrageous as you can be. Take any kind of approach you want to take. Feel free to flash back, feel free to flash forward, feel free to flash back in the middle of a flashback. Feel free to use narration, all the tools are there for you to use.’

I used to tell a screenwriting class, ‘I could teach you all the basic techniques in fifteen minutes. After that, it’s up to you.’ (source)

– John Milius from “Creative Screenwriting,” March/April 2000