I just finished watching this panel-style interview by The Hollywood Reporter with screenwriters Judd Apatow, Mark Boal, David Magee, Chris Terrio, Michael Haneke, and John Krasinski. Most of these writers are either nominated for Academy Awards themselves or wrote the screenplays for award-nominated films. All of them have some terrific insight to give into the writing process, researching, ethical boundaries when adapting real-life people or events for the screen, and creative influences.
It’s a bit of an awkward interview, given the diversity of the writers and their subject matter, and the abrupt attitude of the moderator, but I found it interesting all the same. I have very minimal formal screenwriting training, but it’s something I’ve been considering lately, seeing as I’m one of those dime-a-dozen people who loves writing and film.
Something I found super interesting was that when the writers are asked, towards the end of the interview, what profession they’d like to have outside of the arts, most of them agreed they’d love to have a rhythmic practical job–like washing dishes, building things, captaining a small ferry–that had a tangible process and result. I completely agree with this. I walk past builders working on half-constructed houses almost every morning and feel a weird pang of envy sometimes. In essence, it’s all creative, really. Just in very different ways.
As a footnote, Judd Apatow is so great and knows how to completely slice through pretensions, and I’ve decided I love David Magee–he wrote the screenplays for Life of Pi (incredible) and Finding Neverland and has a very jolly face.
If you’re interested in writing, film, creativity, listening to articulate people talk about their passions, or just want to sound really knowledgeable and informed around your friends when the Oscars finally air etc., dedicate 58 minutes of your life to this!
And just in case you were wondering, my favourites for Best Picture so far are Life of Pi and Django Unchained, but I’ve loved all of the nominated films I’ve seen (except for Amour, which I love-hated because it was so stunningly sad and true).