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Tip #1810: Charlie Kaufman’s 10 Screenwriting Tips

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Everyone speaks with a unique voice – find yours.

Charlie Kaufman (Image courtesy Screen Plays.)

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This article, written by Jason Hellerman, first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

Charlie Kaufman is the screen-writer for I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Antkind, Anomalisa, Adaptation, Synecdoche New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, and other collaborations with Mark Kermode and Spike Jonze.

He presented a 17-minute video outlining his 10 Screenwriting Tips (see it here).

Here’s his list:

  1. Failure is a badge of honor
  2. Make the story and themes eternal
  3. Make your writing honest and meaningful
  4. Say who you are, and people will recognize themselves in you
  5. Don’t explain themes of your own work, let each individual take their own meaning from it
  6. Leave it ambiguous for the audience, but explain your thoughts to your collaborators
  7. Approach your work like your dreams would and throw away conventional approaches
  8. Add layers to your story, so it will be interesting for multiple viewings
  9. Find your own way into the industry until you get to the work you were meant to do
  10. Find the unique writing process that works only for you

Watch the video to hear how Charlie explains each of these.


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