WGA Award Nominees Share Their Screenwriting Insights

Jen Yamato of Deadline has written a great article highlighting ten of the screenwriters nominated for WGA Awards this year. I highly recommend reading the entire article at Deadline, but here are a few excerpts to pique your interest:

Like [David O. Russell’s] last two unofficial companion films The Fighter and Silver Linings PlaybookAmerican Hustle examines themes of passion, love, and survival that are personal to Russell, he said. Getting to write for actors close to him like Jennifer Lawrence‘s shrill Long Island housewife further affected the process of creating her character, a character that had been darker and different in earlier drafts. “This is far more interesting to have someone who’s bedeviling and enchanting and a genius of some kind in her way. Many times personally I’ve had my ass handed to me by a woman like that and been lucky just to get up. Jesus Christ, help me. I have a great respect for those women.” …

Spike Jonze, who tackled the challenge of writing a romance in which one character is never seen onscreen in Her:
“I was scared because I didn’t know if it was going to work and that was the challenge through shooting. We keep writing in post; our editorial process is basically a writing process. The movie keeps developing. We look at editing as drafts of the movie. [Compared to the Coen Bros.’ method of shooting exactly what they write] our process is much more messy, a continuing process of trying to get as close to what the intention was as possible.”

“I have a lot of friends read [the script]. I actually pitched the movie to David [Russell] in my living room in New York. I spent probably an hour pitching the story. I get a lot out of filling in the blanks, realizing things that aren’t there and getting friends’ feedback.” …

Dallas Buyers Club‘s Melisa Wallack also credited a collaborator, directorJean-Marc Barr, with sharpening the film’s focus. Initially the script was split with half of its attention on the politics of FDA drug regulations: 
“Jean Marc really honed it down to this personal story of what Ron Woodruff was going to and pointed out that the most important part was from his perspective. We rewrote it with that in mind and thankfully were able to pare down the FDA to a point where it’s more tolerable because before it was too political, too heavy-handed, and too overwhelming for the script.”

Get many more great insights at Deadline.

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