Screenwriting how-to quotes are incredibly helpful for both inexperienced and experienced writers alike. We find out how other writers work, and maybe we pick up a few new tips-and-tricks. Everyone can benefit from adding more tools to their writing toolbox.
Writing advice abounds in Hollywood—but the best advice comes from the writers who are currently working in trenches. So, let’s take a look at what five working screenwriters have to say about their craft. If you’re going to study screenwriting, why not learn from the best?
No. 1 – Jordan Peele
“I’m obsessed with giving the audience something they didn’t see coming.”
Let’s start with the writer who just won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (2017): Jordan Peele. His sleeper hit Get Out (2017) was a critical darling that went on to make serious box office bank. One of the things critics liked most about the movie? That so much of it was unexpected. It’s filled with twists and turns that keep audiences nailed to their seats.
No 2. — Guillermo del Toro
“There is beauty and humility in imperfection.”
The characters in Del Toro’s poignant film “The Shape of Water” were intriguing and sympathetic to audiences across the country. Guillermo del Toro wanted everyone to see how beautiful imperfections can be—and it got him the Best Picture (2017) award.
No 3. — Greta Gerwig
“Let your characters talk to each other and do things. Spend time with them — they’ll tell you who they are and what they’re up to.”
Another popular film from 2017 was written and directed by Greta Gerwig. Her film “Lady Bird” is filled with some of the most unusual and interesting characters committed to film. How did she do it? Instead of trying to force a story, she let her characters lead–and the result was an Academy Award-nominated film.
No. 4 — Wes Anderson
“I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets. There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do. It’s sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I’ve made the decision: I’m going to write in my own handwriting.”
Anderson has made a number of movies, and each one of them bears the mark of his recognizable style. Critics love it and audiences consistently come back for more. But it was an active decision on his part to make that style part of his unique signature when making films. He knew his work was distinctive—and he embraced it.
No 5 — George RR Martin
“Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.”
George RR Martin’s “Game of Thrones” has become one of the most celebrated television shows of all time. One reason it’s so popular? The characters are fascinating, even villains like Cersei. She’s definitely evil, but she’s also dynamic and interesting and oddly sympathetic at times. Martin’s approach to character makes his villains three-dimensional—and makes for must-see TV.
What is your favorite writing advice? Sound off in the comments!