Bambi vs Godzilla, by David Mamet

I really love David Mamet’s work, but I have to say that this series of essays about the movie business pretty much went right over my head. He’s a super-intellectualized filmmaker, and I find Glengarry Glen Ross to be a singular achievement. But this one was a little too inside Hollywood for me to really understand much about or get much out of.

Having said that, he repeats here one of the things he’s said many times…that to write a successful scene, you’ve got to always understand and be able to answer three questions:

  1. Who wants what from whom?
  2. What happens if they don’t get it?
  3. Why now?

That’s his writing philosophy in a nutshell, and worth thinking about the next time you watch a Mamet play or movie.

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