Screenwriter Profile: Richard Linklater

richard-linklaterThe Writer:

Richard Linklater is a genius. Period. He’s one of the most innovative writers and directors working in film today, as his recent film Boyhood certainly attests. (If you haven’t seen Boyhood yet, go to a theater right now. It’s that good. And if you have the script, please, please send it to me.) Linklater is the writer/director behind such wonderful films as Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Bernie, Dazed and Confused, and A Scanner Darkly. 

Credits:

Boyhood (written by) – 2014

Before Midnight (characters) / (written by) – 2013

Up to Speed (TV Series) (creator) – 2012

Bernie (screenplay) – 2011

A Scanner Darkly (screenplay) – 2006

Fast Food Nation (written by) – 2006

$5.15/Hr. (TV Movie) – 2004

Before Sunset (characters) / (screenplay) / (story) – 2004

Waking Life (written by) – 2001

The Newton Boys (screenplay) – 1998

Before Sunrise (written by) – 1995

Dazed and Confused (written by) – 1993

Slacker – 1991

It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (concept) – 1988

Quotes:

These days we can be sued for disparaging an industry. It’s like it’s a felony to say something bad. I think they should make it a felony to criticize a film product. Particularly my film product. It’s anti-American. I’d like to see people get sued if they wrote a bad review of my movie. If you can’t say something nice you shouldn’t say anything at all.

[On seeing Raging Bull] It made me see movies as a potential outlet for what I was thinking about and hoping to express. At that point, I was an unformed artist. At that moment, something was simmering in me, but “Raging Bull” brought it to a boil.

We get a lot of cautionary tales about the dangers of getting exactly what you want in life. You know, if you take out the striving and the incompleteness, then where are you?

To me the dialogue comes kind of last. To me, the dialogue is the final coat of paint. My films are all dialogue, but I swear to god, that’s what you see at the end… But to me, what fascinates me more is the architecture beneath it.

How to convey it all, the decisions that go into that, that’s the hard part. There are a lot of great stories; it’s hard to make a compelling movie. You can take the most colorful life of someone and you can make a very boring movie out of it if you don’t break convention, or everything’s the same and we’ve seen it all before, no matter how exciting. It’s the how to tell a story, the technical inspiration, the storytelling inspiration, what’s the form that story should take, what’s the best way for an audience to receive it.

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