Charlie Kaufman Quotes.
I studied acting at Boston University. I was in the theater department there. Somewhere in there I decided that wasn’t what I was going to do and I went to the B.F.A. film program at N.Y.U.
The passionate ones, the ones who go after what they want, may not get what they want, but they remain vital, in touch with themselves, and when they lie on their deathbeds, they have few regrets.
As a kid, I had a background in theater.
When I’m writing, I’m trying to immerse myself in the chaos of an emotional experience, rather than separate myself from it and look back at it from a distance with clarity and tell it as a story. Because that’s how life is lived, you know?
Sometimes I don’t like the books that I’m reading.
I do have some theatrical background. I’ve written plays and seen plays and read plays. But I also read novels. One thing I don’t read is screenplays.
There’s theater in life, obviously, and there’s life in theater.
The way I write is very much without kind of a goal. I have something I’m interested in and then I decide I’m going to explore it. I don’t know where the characters are going to go, I don’t know what the movie is going to do or what the screenplay is going to do. For me, that’s the way to keep it alive.
I can talk endlessly about characters, or why someone did this or that, and what that dynamic and interaction is. I really love it, and I think that actors really respond positively to the fact that I like to talk about that stuff, because I’m not sure that all directors do.
Failure is a badge of honor. It means you risked failure. And if you donвЂ™t risk failure, youвЂ™re never going to do anything thatвЂ™s different from what youвЂ™ve already done or what somebody else has done.
I’m old enough, by a long shot, to remember going to the library and spending days researching. If I was looking for a line from a poem or something else I needed, that would be the trip I would have to take.
The world needs you. It doesn’t need you at a party having read a book about how to appear smart at parties – these books exist, and they’re tempting – but resist falling into that trap. The world needs you at the party starting real conversations, saying, ‘I don’t know,’ and being kind.
I think generally I’m kind of interested in subjective experience, what goes on inside someone’s head, that being all they really know of the world.
Do not simplify. Do not worry about failure. Failure is a badge of honour. It means you risked failure.
I’ve had to deal, a lot, with my own sense of intimidation at meeting famous people – especially actors, but really any famous people.
The only honest and generous thing for me to do is to give people myself. That’s all I’ve got as an artist, so I want to do that in an unflinching way.
I tend to not only read reviews, but also every little stupid thing online. It’s a very bad idea, and there’s a lot of angry people in the world. And it’s weird to absorb all that weirdness.
I like titles that are a little difficult, because it’s kind of counterintuitive.
I hate a movie that will end by telling you that the first thing you should do is learn to love yourself. That is so insulting and condescending, and so meaningless. My characters don’t learn to love each other or themselves.
I have a tendency to hire people who tend to be unattractive to the studios. Maybe this is a bad idea.
So when I write characters and situations and relationships, I try to sort of utilize what I know about the world, limited as it is, and what I hear from my friends and see with my relatives.
There’s this inherent screenplay structure that everyone seems to be stuck on, this three-act thing. It doesn’t really interest me. To me, it’s kind of like saying, ‘Well, when you do a painting, you always need to have sky here, the person here and the ground here.’ Well, you don’t.
I have ideas written down some places, but usually I can’t find them. I’m not very organized.
I think you just assume that your memory is just sort of a video playback of your experience, but it’s nothing like that at all. It’s a complete refabrication of an event and a lot of it is made up, because you’re filling in spaces.
I think that people have expectations of themselves and other people that are based on these fictions that are presented to them as the way human life and relationships could be, in some sort of weird, ideal world, but they never are. So you’re constantly being shown this garbage and you can’t get there.
If you create something that is asking for people to respond as they’re going to respond, you have to allow them to respond as they’re going to respond. Some of the people are going to be uninterested and some people are going to be mad for some reason, which is their business. That’s just the way the world is.
It occurred to me that every work of art is a synecdoche, there’s no way around it. Every creative work that someone does can only represent an aspect of the whole of something. I can’t think of an exception to that.
I try to make things interesting and thought-provoking.
I think dreams are metaphors. Everything you do in writing is metaphorical. So it seems like the same arena to me.
I don’t write genre stuff in any form. I’m not interested in it. I always try to do the opposite of that.
The end is built into the beginning.
I do like escapism. I like going to the movies on a Friday night and seeing something fun.
I’m not a celebrity. I’m intentionally and defiantly not a celebrity. I don’t have any interest in it. I don’t have any talent for it. I keep my personal life out of my public life as cleanly as I can.
I want to try it to see what it’s like and see what my stuff looks like when I take it from inception to completion.
I have a personality that tends to be somewhat compulsive, and I do tend to think in a circular way. I dwell on the same things over and over and I try to figure out different ways of looking at the same issue.
I’m in my mind a lot. I live there.
I think if something resonates, even if it’s surreal, it’s because it is relatable and I think that that’s a core issue for me.
I think if I’ve worked anything through with screenwriting it’s that I’m not going to be able to work anything through.
Writing is a journey into the unknown.
I think I’ve had pretty good experiences for the most part with the people who have directed my screenplays.
The way I work is not the way that you work, and the whole point of any creative act is that. What I have to offer is me, what you have to offer is you, and if you offer yourself with authenticity and generosity I will be moved.
Directing is a more pragmatic experience, where you have to deal with the restrictions of time and money that force you to make certain decisions you don’t have to make when you’re writing.
When I’m writing a script, before I can write dialogue or anything, I have two or three hundred pages of notes, which takes me a year. So, it’s not like “what happens next.” I’ve got things that I’m thinking about but I don’t settle on them. And if I try to write dialogue before then, I can’t. It’s just garbage.
I was trying to figure out what a memory feels like.
My time on the set is the least of my involvement. Most of my time is in pre-production and post-production.
I actually think I’m probably more interested in structure than most people who write screenplays, because I think about it.
I do throw out a lot of ideas, and I forget completely about them.
There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of those people is an extra. They’re all the leads of their own stories. They have to be given their due.
As a writer, or as a filmmaker, you have to present yourself, and part of what yourself is is what you’re interested in, or what you think is funny, or what you think is sad, or what you think is horrible.
I have a lot of health anxiety.
You are what you love. Not what loves you.
I’m not into extreme sports or something. I just live a quiet life.
We try to organize the world, which isn’t organized the way our brains want to organize it. We tell stories about the people in our lives, we project ideas onto them. We project relationships with people, we make our lives into stories. I don’t think we can avoid doing that.
I want to create situations that give people something to think about.
We’re all one thing, like cells in a body. ‘Cept we can’t see the body. The way fish can’t see the ocean. And so we envy each other. Hurt each other. Hate each other. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell.
I don’t think screenwriting is therapeutic. It’s actually really, really hard for me. It’s not an enjoyable process.
We have the script, we have the actors, and we’re trying to figure out what this is, and you don’t know what it is. You have to be open to what it’s going to become rather than have this thing that you’re trying to get to, which is boring.
Before you start production, you have characters you have created without actors in mind, then all of a sudden you’ve got actors. They bring an enormous amount in creating these characters, and creating the dynamics between the characters that you’ve written.