I’m not a terribly important writer.
Surely I’m better known as a writing educator.
My role as the uncredited writer of the first two drafts of the screenplay for American Graffiti, however, gives me my place in history, by which I mean that in biographies of George Lucas, and books…
I’ve written in the past about a prizefighter whose management team, as he grew too old for the ring, sought to have him pull an Arnold.
He would quit boxing and forge a new career as a movie star.
Who knows? Perhaps after that he could become the governor of…
Over the past several decades there has been a plague of weekend seminars treating virtually every aspect of the human condition: self-help, personal development, how to succeed in business, how to succeed in one’s love life, and even screenwriting.
It’s as much my fault as anybody’s.
Among us presenters, there…
I have written from time to time about what I call ‘the reader’s backflip.’
The term refers not to acrobatic antics but what professional readers do when they report upon a script on behalf of an agency or production company.
First — if they’re reading hard copy — they lay…
Morons, dingbats, and fools of every stripe — flat-Earthers, climate-change deniers, 9/11 “Truthers,” Obama-was-born-in-Kenya zealots — voicing support for nonsense doesn’t bother me as much as when it’s advantaged, educated, intelligent, literate, cultured folk.
These days, alas, increasing numbers of such souls appear to embrace baloney, balderdash, and bullshit.
To generalize about groups — men/women, straight/gay, young/old, white/black, and U-Name-It — lies at the very heart of bigotry. From where does the word ‘prejudice’ derive if not ‘pre-judge,’ that is, judging before?
Before knowing the people we judge.
When we evaluate people based not on their individual…
The two hardest things in Show Biz are 1) singing and 2) standup comedy.
You think screenwriting is tough? Stand before a group and sing them a song, or try to keep them laughing for, say, twenty minutes, while you wax comedic on one subject or another.
Few experiences are…
Film floats in a sea of contradiction.
Describing the medium, I often use the word ‘schizophrenic.’
I have said it before: films are fake.
Movies don’t even move.
Most everybody knows that a feature-length film is actually a string of still pictures, thousands upon thousands of individual frames, each and…
Legendary USC film school Professor Irwin R. Blacker used to ask his screenwriting classes, “Where do you need conflict in a screenplay?”
He insisted on a one-word answer.
In unison, we sang out, “Everywhere!”
Rational discourse, intelligent argument, informed analysis all occupy important places in our lives, but movies are…
I enrolled in film school in Los Angeles now more than half a century ago.
At that time, regarding the professional community, film school was a dead end. Nobody in The Biz had been to film school, and nobody who’d gone to film school was in The Biz.