I recently discovered a new (to me) screenwriter interview series called The Dialogue: Learning From the Masters (also available on Amazon and Netflix. Each 90 minute DVD has an exclusive interview with established screenwriters like Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) [IMDB Info], Jim Uhls (Fight Club) [IMDB Info], Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Color of Night) [IMDB Info] and several others. Each episode explores the craft of screenwriting via a one-on-one interview conducted by film industry veteran, Mike De Luca [IMDB Info].It’s interesting to see the different processes utilized by each screenwriter. For instance, Paul Haggis relies on outlines as a way to structure his thoughts and ideas when constructing his screenplays. He used this approach while developing the script for “Crash” – which began years after he was carjacked in real life. From there, he outlined a series of questions that led him to all the intersecting story lines that earned him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Jim Uhls in the other hand despises outlines. Uhls feels that they restrict the creative process by making you “serve the outline” – which shuts down your intuitive side. His process involves taking copious notes for character development. This even includes writing fictional interview sessions with the characters. Uhls plays the part of the aggressive interviewer, who tries to push his characters buttons – revealing their true selves.
The Dialogue Series was released last year, but YouTube has a channel promoting it with 12 of the interviews in condensed 10 minute clips. Here are some of the notable ones – including the Haggis and Uhls samples that I’ve mentioned:
Paul Haggis Interview –
Jim Uhls Interview –
Billy Ray Interview –
You can find all 12 condensed interviews here.