I was leaving a recommendation on my Syd Field interview for a commenter but thought this deserves a post. If you ever wondered what parts make up a Screenwriter, no series gets DNA-deep into one’s mind than Mike DeLuca’s ‘The Dialogue’ series. I started Netflixing it some weeks ago, not expecting much, but the interviews simply rocked! Don’t pay attention to the reviews on Netflix. Most of them are full of shit.
If you’re the type that wants a Screenwriter to tell you how to get an agent, or how to find a producer, or which screenwriting software you should write with – don’t bother with this series. In short, this is how I would – but never could – do an interview if I wanted to learn about the process. Both DeLuca, whose knowledge of movies is vast, as well as Jay Fernandez, make these interviews lively, well thought out, and I found they asked the right questions at the right time.
I’ve always found interviews frustrating, esp. with writers and filmmakers. Interviewers usually commit the crime of trying to impress the interviewee – god forbid it’s a famous one – with his/her knowledge and grasp of filmmaking terms. Fuck them! The best thing about this series is that both hosts don’t let anyone off the hook with generic answers; they’ll ask a lot of specifics and it makes the interviewers give them specifics. This is possible because the interviewers’s love of the movies. You can’t do this if you don’t love it, man!
The ingenious section of each show is ‘the object’ where the Screenwriter(s) is given an object and asked to come up with a storyline. To watch them come up with a story based on the objects is priceless. The immediate responses is an excellent insight into how these minds work. Two in particular that stands out for me, so far, are with Paul Haggis and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman. The latter’s interview is one of the best of the series.
Take my advice: don’t waste money on shitty classes or shitty books – you know most of them are. Make good use of your Netflix account. Do The Dialogue as part of your schooling. Anyone who tells you this is not a good series doesn’t know what the fuck (s)he is talking about.
And you should avoid him/her at all costs. :)