Thursday, March 29, 2007

Billy Wilder's Tips For Writers

I was cleaning out a closet and I found this list, written on loose leaf paper, and presumably transcribed back in grad school from Cameron Crowe's interview book with writer/director Billy Wilder. Obviously I thought these tips (not rules, mind you) were worth saving and following and therefore they are also worth sharing:

1) The audience is fickle.

2) GRAB 'EM BY THE THROAT AND NEVER LET 'EM GO.

3) Develop a clean line of action for your leading character

4) Know where you're going.

5) The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

6) If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is the first act.

7) A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.

8 )In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.

9) The event that occurs at the second-act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

10) The third act must build, build, build in temp and action until the last event and then —

11) — that's it. DON'T HANG AROUND.

1 Comments:

Blogger Pete said...

I really enjoyed their book, not just because it got me to hunt for some great early Wilder films, most notably his awesome debut "The Major and the Minor". I think Crowe should re-read his book and maybe it'll inspire him to get back to making great films.

But I'm one to talk.

10:38 PM  

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