More of my guest lecture
CS: How do you choose your projects?
AE: I write whatever I love that I think I can sell. I think, "Do I wanna write that?" Then I think, "Can I sell that?" Then I think, "Aw, crap. Well, what CAN I sell?"
CS: Have you ever adapted a short story?
AE: Sarah Polley apparently did a nice job with Away from Her.
CS: Brokeback Mountain, too.
AE: In a way I think a short story might be better fitted for adaptation into a novel. You'd have to throw less stuff out. A movie is fundamentally a short story, not a long story.
CL: I would like to know if you can have more than one POV in a script.
AE: Multiple POV's are novelistic. I’d try to keep to one POV unless there’s a specific reason. For example, a big exception I would say would be romantic comedies Then you normally have two POV's, of the two lovers. Example, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. And then there are movies like TRAFFIC, BABEL, with multiple story lines. Obviously that requires multiple POVs. But within the one story ... I wouldn't go there. Unless your story REQUIRES it, e.g. to impart one bit of info the hero doesn’t know.
CL: Are there rules you can't break?
AE: "There are no rules. But you break them at your peril." The best art films only use art techniques (i.e. techniques that break the “rules”) because they are justified ... required by the story.
JM: Alex, you mention that the age of the writer does play a role in being hired for rewrites. How about tv?
AE: TV is a young man's world, but mostly because of the hours ...
AE: TV staff writers work really long hours. Older guys wanna get back to their kids. A dear friend of mine once jumped off a show because she wasn't seeing her daughter enough. I think most of the age discrimination is really self selection. The older you are, for example, the less crap you're willing to swallow from idiots.
CL: Is the movie biz really in trouble and how can they get out of trouble?
AE: Oh, Lordy, if I knew the answer to that ... The much bigger question is what will happen to broadcast TV. Check out my interview with Tom Fontana on my blog.