Tag Archives: screenwriting

John Hughes Never Stopped Writing Until His Heart Stopped Beating

John Hughes, one of my favorite, most beloved screenwriters and filmmakers, passed away three years ago, on August 6, 2009.

That his work has managed to stand the test of time, a feat so many writers fail to achieve, is a remarkable phenomenon in itself.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is now over twenty-five years old. But the line, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was in the 80s.

Even more impressive than his writing, however, is how Hughes did it. Constantly. Fervently. With passion and vigor.  He was never without his moleskin (of which he left behind over 300) and he never ceased to observe, edit, and synthesize everything around him. For him, writing was not so much a profession as a condition of life. It was his ethos.

On the day of his death:

[His wife], Nancy awoke in her Manhattan hotel room to find her husband’s side of the bed empty, which was not unusual. It was Hughes’s custom to get up early and enjoy a morning constitutional when staying in New York. The routine provided him with an opportunity to get a head start on his relentless observing, sketching, and note-taking.

Hughes had collapsed on a sidewalk a few blocks from the hotel. He was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, near Lincoln Center, and pronounced dead of a heart attack. (from Vanity Fair)

What’s truly inspiring is that when Hughes passed away, “…he was doing something he loved. He was out note-taking and observing.” This, I believe, was the key to his talent and his genius. He wrote, and wrote, every day, until his heart stopped beating.

I can’t imagine Hughes penning a more fitting ending to the story that was his life.

And so, to appreciate his death is to celebrate his life. Thanks for the movie memories, John.

 

 

 

Twilight Screenwriter To Women In Hollywood: We Need Some Fighters

melissa rosenberg amy senger 300x224 Twilight Screenwriter On Women In Hollywood: We Need Some Fighters

Twilight Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg with Amy Senger

When screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, previously known for her work on the television series Dexter and The O.C., was offered the chance to adapt the vampire series, Twilight, she was promptly informed she’d have only five weeks to write it. “Five weeks? You can’t write a screenplay in five weeks!” she replied, to which the studio asked her, “Well, you want to get it made?” She did, and as a consequence, all she did for five weeks was write: “You don’t shower, you don’t pet the dog, you don’t eat.

At the recent Future of Film Summit, where she participated in a panel discussion on why women matter in Hollywood, I sat down with Melissa and asked what her biggest challenge was in adapting the Twilight series. Her answer? Meeting the expectations of the fans. In order to have the experience of the viewer, she refused to read ahead, wanting each installment to stand on its own.

With the fourth movie Breaking Dawn Part 1 opening to a $139.5 million domestic gross this weekend and touting a wedding, a honeymoon and a birthing scene, Rosenberg says Part 2 still leaves lots to anticipate: “The thing I’m looking forward to is seeing Bella as a vampire. It’s a very different character. The fidgeting, the stuttering, the insecurity, the awkwardness- it’s gone. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to seeing vampire sex versus human sex [laughing].

When asked what advice she had for women looking to succeed in Tinseltown, Rosenberg had this to say: “Be prepared to compete. Be prepared to take a hit. Pick yourself back up, and get in there. It’s not an easy field to get into but we need you…we need some fighters.”

Here’s my talk with Melissa and, yes, Robert Pattinson is just as lovely and charming in person as he is on screen.