The Rules – one for all:
(a) “Even a film that was shot in six weeks…has hundreds of people bringing their contribution to the table. That the initial vision of the screenplay page remains intact by the time it hits the screen is miraculous considering how many fingerprints get on it along the way – even when those fingerprints are well meaning fingerprints. So when you see something intact, you really have to take pleasure in it, if you’re the guy who put the words on the page in the first place… To see those components having all sailed in the same direction and landed safely, instead of hitting the rocks, is fantastic.”
(b) “I think what newer screenwriters fail to understand is that about 50 percent of the job is about how well you write. The other 50 percent of the job is how well you can understand what the people making the movie – that includes the producers, the studio, and, most importantly, the director – need in order to make the movie… Sometimes they don’t have the vocabulary or the specific answer to explain what it is that’s not quite working, but you’re listening very carefully and figuring out what they need. There’s a social aspect to screenwriting that’s very different from being a novelist or almost any other kind of writer.”
(c) “As a writer, the only power you have is persuasion… And so you try to stay as close to the process as you can, because that’s your only ability to influence it – to be in the room and try to persuade people. People want to change scenes or dialogue. You work with that. But the thing I try to influence is the theme, that emotional through-line. That’s what the movie’s about.
…if you can always return to that through-line, that what the theme is there for. It orients everything. And if you can bring people back to that, that’s why you try to stay involved as much as you can – or are allowed to be. Then, you know, the chips fall where they may.”
Excerpted with quotes from (a) Frank Darabont & (b) John August & (c) Joe Forte
Tales from the Script (2010)