The purpose of technique is to free the unconscious. If you follow the rules ploddingly, they will allow your unconscious to be free. That’s true creativity. If not, you will be fettered by your conscious mind. Because the conscious mind always wants to be liked and wants to be interesting. The conscious mind is going to suggest the obvious, the cliche, because these things offer the security of having succeeded in the past. Only the mind that has been taken off itself and put on a task is allowed true creativity.
A good writer gets better only by learning to cut, to remove the ornamental, the descriptive, the narrative, and especially the deeply felt and meaningful. What remains? The story remains. What is the story? The story is the essential progression of incidents that occur to the hero in pursuit of his goal.
The point, as Aristotle told us, is what happens to the hero…… not what happens to the writer.
One does not have to be able to see to write such a story. One has to be about to think.
The work of the director is the work of constructing the shot list from the script. The work on the set is nothing. All you have to do on the set is stay awake, follow your plans, help the actors be simple, and keep your sense of humor. The film is directed in the making of the shot list. The work on the set is simply to recored what has been chosen to be recorded. It is the plan that makes the movie.
A movie script should be a juxtaposition of uninflected shots that tell the story.
If you find that a point cannot be made without narration, it is virtually certain that the point is unimportant to the story (which is to say, to the audience): the audience requires not information but drama. Who, then, requires this information?
The smallest unit is the shot; the largest unit is the film; and the unit with which the director most wants to concern himself is the scene.
A succession of images juxtaposed so that the contrast between these images moves the story forward in the mind of the audience.
Screenwriting is a craft based on logic. It consists of the assiduous application of several very basic questions: What does the hero want? What hinders him from getting it? What happens if he does not get it?
When Buck got to The Club, the aura of audition night was definitely in the air. It was the same mentality prevalent in auto racing, where the crowd not so secretly rooted for crack-ups more than for success. There was no stock-car racing in New York yet, but for a five-dollar cover and a two-drink minimum, citizens could come to The Club and enjoy the spinout of other people’s heartfelt dreams.
What a strange phenomenon—that this was something people wanted to see. Was it because we all can relate to dashed dreams, and here one could actually see one, written on the auditioner’s face, the horror that comes from finding out that what some poor sap obviously thought were the wittiest, wisest, cleverest things that had ever bubbled from his brain couldn’t even fill five minutes?
The reality in show business is that there’s no honor. The law is, everybody fucks everybody as much as they can get away with while they can get away with it. Harvey could get away with paying me shit and letting savagery loose while i was onstage, so he did. I can get away with making him scramble for an act tonight because I can. Anybody who’s shocked or even personally wounded when payback day comes is an idiot and shouldn’t even be in the business.