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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Must Characters Change?

Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan, author of The Departed, on the subject of characters changing over the course of a work:

"I don’t expect an MBA [who is producing a film] to be Northrop Frye, but I do want to hear his opinions and I’d ask for them were they not given. Do I want to hear [about terms such as] “arc” and “journey” and how does someone “change” through the course of the movie? No, I do not. People change in stories about people changing, not in every story. Not every story is A Christmas Carol. You get this crap about “story” because of these chuckleheads out there running script classes, who really prey on confusion about art and people’s genuine desire to learn. It’s shameful what they’ve done to discourse about motion pictures and to film itself. Writers literally get fired in this business because they aren’t providing enough “journey” in a story that doesn’t call for any. There are no general rules to any sort of writing. Each work has its own inherent rules. You discover them. You don’t import them."

Source:, Feb. 18, 2007.

1 comment:

Fun Joel said...

Don't think I ever got around to thanking you for your good wishes re: my trip to Africa. Thanks!