notes from lecture on writing and directing

i went to an excellent lecture last night. the film independent’s director series – From Script to Screen: On Writing and Directing.

the panel consisted of:

John August (writer of Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie’s Angels, GO, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, writer/director of The Nines, and has his excellent blog)
Erin Cressida Wilson (writer of Secretary and FUR: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus)
Jeff Stockwell (writer of Bridge to Terabithia and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys).


john august said he writes a lot in longhand, not in the computer. with the computer, too easy to go back and edit. if he writes longhand, he avoids the temptation of easily editing. he also writes out of sequence, and will write whatever scene he feels like working on. he said directors shoots out of sequence, so it’s the same thing. he works 9 – 6 in his office with his assistant. he’ll get in a couple hours of writing, with the rest of the time going to research, taking calls, etc.

erin said she sublets a place and writes 6 hours a day, barely getting up to eat or go to the bathroom. she’s not linear by nature so she forces herself to work in a linear way. she writes in sequence. she aims for 10 pages a day, but also goes back to edit what she wrote the day before. she uses index cards to help find structure.

jeff said he’s a procrastinator. ah, someone like me. he said he’s lucky if he gets 3 hours of real writing done. the other 3 hours are spent doing whatever else. he writes in sequence mostly, but if he feels stuck, he might write a scene that’s out of order. like erin, he also uses index cards.

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