Our friends over at Monkey Trial put this one up. Led us to the Stephen J. Cannell website, where there’s a short but thorough and helpful writing course available fro free. Adding it to my category Writing Advice From Other People.
Watching (and enjoying) HBO’s Succession. Reminded me of something I heard Francis Ford Coppola say in an interview (with Harvard Business Review of all places) about how he tries to write down the theme of a project in one word on a notecard.
ALISON BEARD: And when you get stuck creatively, if you don’t know where a script should go or how a movie should end, how do you get yourself unstuck?
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA: Well, if my intuition and asking the question just what feels better to me doesn’t give it to me, I have a little exercise where any project I work on, I have what the theme is in a word or two. Like on The Conversation, it was privacy. On The Godfather, it was succession. So I always have that word, and I encourage my children to do the same, to break it all down beyond everything else. Don’t tell me it’s a coming-of-age story, because that’s not specific. What, specifically, is it?
And if you have that word, then when you reach an impasse, you just say, well, what is the theme related to the decision? Should it be this or should it be that? Then I say, well, what does the theme tell me? And usually, if you go back to that word, it will suggest to you which way to go and break the roadblock.
Is succession the one-word theme of Succession?
How about this part:
As Zinoman puts it, “His smirking tone was so consistently knowing that he seemed as if he must know something.” This was an attitude fit for the cynical mood of the 1980s, and Zinoman emphasizes Letterman’s significance as an avatar of cool noncommitment, a figure of his time. In that, Letterman resembled that other pop-cultural phenomenon of the era, Jim Davis’s Garfield – the rotund cartoon feline also riven by self-doubt and haunted by grandiose fantasies of domination while projecting an aloofness that often verged on the cruel.
from Naomi Fry’s review of Jason Zinoman’s Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night in the Summer 2017 issue of BookForum. (A little behind on my Bookforum).
If you found a note on a scrap of paper in my house that said “Maybe I can stop masturbating” on it I promise it was related to an upcoming work of television comedy.
Enjoy VEEP on Sundays at 10:30pm and then on HBO Go forever!
If you enjoy Ed Harris in Westworld, as I do, you may be curious to have a look at his role in Walker (1987) in which he plays a similarly attired character:
Harris plays the real life William Walker who went down to Nicaragua with some armed guys and declared himself president there from 1856-1857.
I went down to Nicaragua and visited some of the places Walker shot up.
I tell the story of Walker, and of Nicaragua, and of the troubled film