A buddy of mine got in touch with me seeking writing wisdom. I sent him a clip from Adaptation. Unfortunately, he’s in Japan and the poor guy can’t get videos. He had to settle for me. I told him a bunch of shit.
On budgeting time:
What you know about the piece when you begin is a clue to what expectations you should set for the piece.
On ensemble pieces and having a lot of characters:
In the famous words of the Notorious B.I.G. “Mo’ characters, mo’ time I have to spend getting to know them.” Aka mo’ problems. If you’re one of them writers attracted to characters you already know well or very well, then ensemble casts and large casts may not be as much of a roadblock. I personally reduce my expectations of what I can accomplish as soon as what I’m writing begins to look like an ensemble piece because I know I’m generally attracted to characters I don’t know that well.
On which characters to keep and which to get rid of:
The trick is knowing who’s bringing something to the party and who’s just there for a handout. No fucking handouts. Every character earns their keep or gets the fuck out.
On the difficulty of making exposition seem natural:
You are a screenwriter now my son. Bless you and go forth into misery. I’m kidding. It’s not misery. Intermittent despair really.
On being subtle without being unclear, being chaotic without being ridiculous:
You can always take bad shit out later. And at that point it’s much easier than putting good stuff in. So just for the first draft don’t worry about being unclear or appearing ridiculous. Just write it. If I really wanted to get it done in 3 weeks, I would do my best not to worry about all the “don’t wants” and “withouts”.
On Sake flavored Kit Kat: