Posts tagged ‘Billy Wilder’

November 4, 2013

Quote of the Day: Billy Wilder (in Sunset Boulevard)

Don’t you know the finest things in the world have been written on an empty stomach?

April 30, 2013

5 Greatest Screenwriters of All Time

Quinn Steers of WhatCulture recently put together a list of the five greatest screenwriters of all time. His picks are:

5. Ingmar Bergman

4. Stanley Kubrick

3. Paul Thomas Anderson

2. Billy Wilder

1. Woody Allen

Steers says of Allen,

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March 14, 2013

Quote of the Day: Billy Wilder

Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.

February 13, 2012

Script: Sunset Boulevard

Here is the script for Sunset Boulevard, one of the top ten scripts ever written. This script takes a very unique approach to the use of voice-over. It was written by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

February 6, 2012

Script: Some Like it Hot

Here is a text draft of Some Like it Hot, considered by the WGA to be one of the ten best scripts ever written. This script was written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.

November 18, 2011

Screenwriter Profile: Billy Wilder


The Writer:

Billy Wilder is one of the great legends of screenwriting. His mix of classic comedies and riveting dramas set the standard for excellence in writing and directing.

Wilder was born in what is now Poland. He originally intended to become a lawyer then spent several years working as a journalist. He turned to screenwriting in 1929 and wrote scripts in Berlin until Hitler came to power in 1933. A man of Jewish descent, Wilder quickly emigrated to Paris then later to the United States. Wilder came to Hollywood not speaking a word of English but picked up the lingo and the business very quickly.

His greatest works include Some Like it Hot, Sunset Blvd., Sabrina, Double Indemnity, and The Apartment.

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August 18, 2011

Quote of the Day: Billy Wilder

Film’s thought of as a director’s medium because the director creates the end product that appears on the screen. It’s that stupid auteur theory again, that the director is the author of the film. But what does the director shoot—the telephone book? Writers became much more important when sound came in, but they’ve had to put up a valiant fight to get the credit they deserve.

June 13, 2011

Script: 7 Scripts Every Writer Should Read

myPDFscripts posted this list of seven scripts that David Lemon, a freshly produced scribe, suggests every writer read. As an added bonus, myPDFscripts included a link to most of the seven scripts which you can download for free off of their website. Take a look:

1. The Apartment

For me, this is just one of the most touching and beautifully structured scripts ever written. It’s about the loneliness of the big city, the misogyny, putting career before love and a clock puncher finally becoming a ‘mensch’. It’s also a masterclass in dramatic irony and has the second best final line in film history (the number one being ‘Some Like it Hot’).

While I pray it never gets re-made, it could be as its themes are as fresh now as they were then. ‘Genius’ is an overused term but on this film Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond had it in spades.

2. Little Miss Sunshine

A film I really loved and which really leaps off the page. It’s also inspiring to first time feature writers as Michael Arndt’s CV prior to the film is pretty thin. Now he’s writing ‘Toy Story 3′.

The opening is a brilliant example of setting up a lot of characters with great economy. There’s hardly any dialogue, but five minutes in we already know a lot about this family and their wants and needs.

Like ‘The Apartment’, it’s also a film about something; in this case the American obsession with being a ‘winner’. Paul Dano’s sullen (and largely mute) teenage son even gives a speech just before Olive’s climactic dance in which he tells his uncle (and us) how meaningless other people’s labels of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ really are. Also worth checking out as the ending in the finished film is ever so slightly different.

3. Back to the Future

A script that’s assembled with Swiss watch precision. There isn’t a single thing that’s set up that isn’t paid off later. It’s also worth comparing with a 1980 draft that’s also floating about on the ‘net.

The essential story- kid goes back in time, has to play matchmaker to his parents- is the same but so much of it feels convoluted and just plain wrong. It makes you realise that films aren’t so much written as re-written. It’s one of the few films I remember with nostalgic affection that’s even better than I remembered it.

4. Aliens

I know- not ‘Alien’? What gives? While I think ‘Alien’ remains a high benchmark for sci-fi horror, there’s just something so compelling about the way James Cameron writes hard-boiled action.

Brilliantly paced, spare dialogue, memorable characters- what more could you possibly want?

5. The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan’s recent output may have been, ahem, patchy (have you seen ‘The Lady in the Water’ and ‘The Happening’?) but this really is a terrific script that gives you chills as you read it.

It’s very spare, but every word is well chosen.

6. Sling Blade

Oddly enough, I read this years before seeing the actual film. Both are terrific but on the page, the script really grips you, and the underlying tension of waiting for Billy Bob Thornton’s profoundly disturbed child-man to show his dark side really drives it.

Even on the page your mind’s eye is drawn to him even when he doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

7. Slumdog Millionaire

Really exciting to see how this great film looks on the page. Although based on an acclaimed novel, it was screenwriter Simon Beaufoy who came up with the love story which gave his hero a much stronger drive; after all, do you want to see someone succeed because they want to be rich, or because they want to be re-united with the one they love?

It also gave a sense of unity to what could have been a series of interesting but slightly disconnected incidents; great and charming in a book; not so much on screen.

It also manages to incorporate suspense and some pretty traumatic stuff into what critics labelled ‘The Feel-Good Hit of the Year’. While it does leave you on a high, the story takes you to some pretty dark places…

May 2, 2011

10 Writing Tips from the Great Billy Wilder

Scott Myers of recently posted this list of ten writing tips passed down by the amazing Billy Wilder. Wilder was the scribe behind such classics as Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, The Seven Year Itch, Sabrina, and Double Indemnity, to name a few. Wilder’s gravestone reads “I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.”

1. Grab ’em by the throat and never let go.

2. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

3.The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

4. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

5. Tip from Ernst Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

6. The audience is fickle. Know where you’re going.

7. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.

8. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

9. The 3rd act must build, build, build in tempo until the last event, and then…

10. …that’s it. Don’t hang around.