A working writer from the old studio system to the here and now, twice Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Millard Kaufman effortlessly brings the reader from Hollywood Day One to Hollywood today, infusing stories about films from the silent era to the Golden Era to the present with an equally timeless quality. His sketches of the filmmaking menagerie range from hairdressers who claim credit for the success of a film to megalomaniacal moguls who spit out barbarisms like bad seeds.
Based on over fifty years of experience as a screenwriter and teacher, Plots and Characters expertly leads aspiring writers through the various challenges of sitting down to write every day, while articulating the particular frustration even the most accomplished writers must face. Citing hundreds of films, classic tales, and the history of aesthetics, Kaufman dissects the compelling elements of story and structure with an even hand and a shrewd eye, all the while spinning tales with a wit and a gift for the telling that may make you forget this is a book about screenwriting.
Augmenting Kaufman’s wise words on the screenwriting process are short essays scattered throughout the text from modern-day screenwriters who offer decidedly individual – and occasionally contradictory – takes on the art of getting it down on paper. They include:
Alex Cox (Repo Man)
Larry David (Seinfeld)
Scott Franks (Get Shorty)
Bryan Gordon (Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall)
Nick Kazan (Reversal of Fortune)
Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise)
Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects)
Jessie Nelson (Corrina, Corrina)
Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams)
Eric Roth (Forrest Gump)
Michael Schiffer (Colors)
Robin Swicord (Little Women)
Alan Zweibel (It’s Garry Shandling’s Show)