Charlie Kaufman | On the Writing Process

"To begin... To begin... How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That's a good muffin."

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* Have you ever seen the movie Adaptation? It's kind of old, but I recommend it if you have ever struggled with writer's block. Charlie Kaufman wrote the movie, which stars two semi-autobiographical characters : Charlie Kaufman (played by Nicholas Cage) and his 'twin brother' Donald Kaufman (also played by Nicholas Cage). 

In real life, Donald doesn't actually exist. These two characters are 1. an embodiment of the person that others see and 2. the one he secretly believes he is  -  academy award nominated screenwriter Charlie (part of the movie even takes place on the Being John Malkovich set) and Donald, who is a total buffoon.  He has done nothing with his life and decides, on a whim, to write a screenplay. But he is a simpler Charlie, one who isn't plagued by self loathing.

It is Donald's naivety that protects him from the doubt that cripples Charlie. It's his fear of writing something bad, of being Donald, that keeps him from writing at all. While Donald's thriller screen play, which is loaded with cliches, is completed and picked up ... Charlie has written nothing.

Its an interesting statement, not just about the artistic standards of Hollywood, but about how the search for something great has a futile way of destroying every start.
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3 comments:

  1. oh man, i haven't seen this. but i'm gonna have to check it out.

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  2. Have not seen this but you have me totally intrigued!

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  3. Meg and Anna : the cover of the movie was super unappealing to me - luckily my boyfriend has less shallow movie judgment techniques. You should both watch it! I've thought about it for weeks

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