In conversation with Charlie Kaufman, Screenwriter

One of modern cinema’s most celebrated writers, Charlie Kaufman’s work includes surreal fantasy Being John Malkovich, cerebral sci-fi Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and comedy drama Adaptation. The three films mentioned were all nominated for an Academy Award with Kaufman winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002 with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Initially, I was only going to simply post an audio interview entitled In conversation with Charlie Kaufman (the link is below) but in my research I found a wealth of interviews and information. So much so, I decided to dedicate this post to his screenplay ADAPTATION – one of my all-time favorite movies about “love, sex and death” set against a backdrop of attempting to write a screenplay about flowers. The script also manages to include drugs, guns, car chases, porn, masturbation, alligators, multi-personality disorder and even a serial-killer. It is an intentional mixture of genres: a comedy and a drama and a pyschologicall thriller and an action movie, wrapped up as one esoteric, strange tall tale.

This is a writers movie. A movie about writers, both seasoned scribes and newbies. The film follows the storyline of an article written for a New York magazine which becomes a book, then adapted into a screenplay. The protagonist, a writer, goes to writing seminars, has writers block, struggles with the arc of his character, holes himself up in his room and isolates himself from others in order to finish a writing project, swings between having breakthroughs and hitting the wall, repels writing advice and then seeks it out, et al. As a writer, can you relate?

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The Unequivocal Connection Between Social Media and Myths, Fairy Tales, & Fantasy

Myths, Fairy Tales, Legends,and Storytelling

Image by CS Nyder

by Todd Wilms, as seen in the June 5, 2012 issue of Forbes

There won’t be many who disagree that as we become more “social,” we also become more distracted.  As we engage in more multitasking behavior, we train ourselves to spend less and less time on each activity.  What is interesting is the reciprocal reaction we have to this behavior.Have you noticed the plethora of fairy tale remakes or reinterpretations lately?  Everywhere you turn around in popular media you see an evil queen, a virgin heroine, an unsuspecting hero, or a wised mentor helping to overcome the forces of darkness.  Is it coincidence, or an allegory for the times in which we live?  Well, it is no coincidence. Continue reading

“The Power of Myth in Great Storytelling”

MYTHOLOGY WORKSHOP: Saturday, June 16, 2-5pm, $49 (see details below)

by Sequoia Hamilton, founder of Ojai Writers Workshops

Joseph Campbell, a scholar and world traveler, proposed in his 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a basic pattern is found in narratives around the world including those of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ. He called this pattern “The Hero’s Journey.”

Campbell claimed that no matter where we look – from the “dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed witch doctor of the Congo … the mystic Lao-tse … the arguments of Aquinas … or a bizarre Eskimo fairy tale” – we can find “a shape-shifting yet constant story” of a hero on a journey. Continue reading

SPA-tacular Writing in June, Ojai

Imagine writing … for five days with no “life” distractions … in a spa robe or swimsuit lounging poolside. Imagine taking in pristine beauty on a magical mountaintop or journaling at an artisan sanctuary.

This could be more than a fantasy, come June.

Join the founder of Ojai Writers Conference and Ojai Summer Writers Workshops, Sequoia Hamilton {bio here} for a week of relaxation and writing at rejuvenating spas, enchanting artisan enclaves and inspiring spiritual retreats.

Read what NBC has to say about SPA-tacular Writing (Click here) 

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Creating Memorable Characters

by Jonathan Dorf

{NOTE: Jonathan Dorf is one of our featured master writing teachers during OJAI SUMMER WRITERS WORKSHOPS. Monday – Friday, June 18-22, he’ll teach the  weeklong workshop “Playwriting Jumpstart.” Click here to view the full week (5 days) of events and excursions. Click here to view our full schedule of workshops June 1-30, 2012.}

When most of us see a production of a play, what we remember is not the lighting or the twists and turns of the plot. We remember the characters. And every actor is likewise looking for a role that will get him remembered.  So as a playwright, the best thing you can do for yourself is to write memorable characters. Writing these memorable characters is, of course, to quote the cliché, easier said than done. My hope here, however, is to give you a trio of tips that may help you burn your characters into the brains of the audience and draw actors to your work.

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