Charlie Kaufman: Screenwriting Lecture



Charlie Kaufman creator of some of the most distinctive scripts of the past decade, gives us a very honest, humble and charming insight into his creative process and how he struggles with his writing.

Back in September 2011 Charlie Kaufman, one of modern cinema’s most celebrated writers, gave a screenwriting lecture for the BAFTA Guru series. Kaufman’s work includes surreal fantasy Being John Malkovich, cerebral sci-fi Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and comedy drama Adaptation.

Charlie Kaufman seems to encourage one key element in all writing and that is an original and independent voice, because he believes that your expression is valuable, especially in a capitalist society that revolves around having something to sell.

Kaufman claims “We’re starving, all of us, and we’re killing each other, and we’re hating each other, and we’re calling each other liars and evil because it’s all become marketing and we want to win because we’re lonely and empty and scared and we’re led to believe winning will change all that. But there is no winning.”

“…What can be done? Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won’t be born for 500 years. Your writing will be a record of your time. It can’t help but be that. But more importantly, if you’re honest about who you are, you’ll help that person be less lonely in their world because that person will recognise him or herself in you and that will give them hope. It’s done so for me and I have to keep rediscovering it. It has profound importance in my life. Give that to the world, rather than selling something to the world. Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work and that in the end selling is what everyone must do. Try not to.”

What becomes clear from listening to this hour long lecture is that Charlie Kaufman is a man that values honesty above everything in his writing, but its also the source of his originality which makes each of his scripts bold and memorable works of art.


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