Billy Wilder died just over 10 years ago a – man who was responsible for some of the most iconic films of 20th Century such as ‘The Apartment’, ‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘Double Indemnity’. For that very reason I have posted up a list of tips for screenwriters that he told to Cameron Crowe in the late 1990s and published in the superb book, Conversations with Wilder.
- The audience is fickle.
- Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.
- Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
- Know where you’re going.
- The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
- If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
- A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
- In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.
- The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
- The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then — that’s it. Don’t hang around.
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