Screenwriting Tips From Billy Wilder
Filmmaker Billy Wilder remains one of the most nominated directors in the history of the Academy Awards. He was a genuine force of nature in Hollywood for much of his prolific, 50 year career, and a voice worth listening to. In the late-1990s, he imparted his wisdom on the subject of filmmaking in the form of this list of tips for screenwriters.
- •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.