5 Famous Screenwriters Reveal the One Weird Thing That Makes Their Process Unique

Writing a screenplay is not easy, but these famous writers have figured out some cool ways to up their writing game and create amazing work. Here are some of their strangest secrets to success:

1. Greta Gerwig only outlines when she’s stuck

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Greta says: “I don’t outline. I don’t outline! I definitely don’t outline before I start writing. There is a moment when I do outline, but it’s only after I have a great deal of material. I find if I outline before I write, it’s the fastest way to kill all my ideas. Somehow it makes everything quite literal to me.”

2. Quentin Tarantino treats his screenplay like a novel

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Quentin says: “I’m putting a lot of stuff in there that the audience is never gonna see and you’re never supposed to see, but it’s there for the reader, you know I want the reader to be engaged and have a good time, so there’s stuff for the reader and also the actor. It gives the actor a sense of who this guy is.”

3. Taika Waititi uses old movies as inspiration

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Taika says: “I try and watch old films to give me ideas, because I feel a bit too close to contemporary cinema to be like looking at things and then like well, yeah stealing from them. I’d rather steal from something really old cause then it’s harder for people to find out…”

4. Phil Lord and Chris Miller write several versions of one scene

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Chris and Phil say: “We like to cover ourselves and protect ourselves and you know, we’re not sure what the flow of the movie’s gonna need and so sometimes you’ll do a scene and you’ll be like, let’s do one where they’re kinda less angry at each other and then lets do another where they’re really angry at each other so we can have some options and find a balance.”

5. John August does 3 one hour writing sprints per day

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John says: “I try to get 3 hours of writing done a day, so I usually do this as sprints, so people who follow me on Twitter can see me say ‘I’m about to start a write sprint’. I’ll usually start a sprint at the top of the hour and then for 60 minutes I’m doing nothing but writing and when that hour’s up, I can step away, but during that hour, I’m not googling, I’m just writing.”

Told you they were weird! Try some of these tricks while writing your next screenplay and see where it takes you!

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Jennifer Enchin is an RTA Media Production student, aspiring screenwriter and part-time copywriter hailing from Toronto, Canada. Jennifer has worked as a script reader for Pomegranate Pictures as well as a critic for popular theatre blog “Mooney On Theatre”. She also placed as a quarterfinalist in The Austin Film Festival's 2020 Screenplay Competition for her feature script "Seabirds". Her favorite topics to write about include entertainment, health and wellness, spirituality and general spooky stuff.