Charlie Kaufman: Master Screenwriter & Storyteller
Charlie Kaufman, what can I say? In my opinion,
“Charlie Kaufman is one of the greatest screenwriters alive today.”
If you have ever read one of his screenplays or watch a film based on his writing you will see that no one on the planet, other than Charlie Kaufman, can write a Charlie Kaufman screenplay.
Charlie Kaufman in one of modern cinema’s most celebrated screenwriters, his work includes the surreal fantasy Being John Malkovich, the Oscar® winning cerebral sci-fi Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the truly underrated Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and one of my favorites the comedy-drama Adaptation.
Charlie Kaufman has had a career that most screenwriters and directors would envy and while his filmography is impeccable, it is his unique style of writing and director that has allowed him to receive great acclaim.
Being Charlie Kaufman
He grew up in Massapequa, New York and was born into a Jewish family. The entertainment bug bit him early on and he was an active member of his high school’s drama club. He met his first writing partner, Paul Porch, while attending New York University to study film and the two began to write spec scripts together for a variety of sitcoms.
Kaufman’s first taste of success came when he was commissioned to write two episodes of the short-lived Chris Elliott sitcom Get a Life during the 1991-92 television season. While he also wrote a few pilots, none went into production and after doing some additional writing work for The Dana Carvey Show and Ned and Stacey, he would set his sights on the film industry.
His unique script for Being John Malkovich established his personal writing style and placed him on Hollywood’s radar as one of the most idiosyncratic and thoughtful writers currently working. He has spoken openly about taking his time when it comes to writing a script, so that he can truly get to know the characters.
Charlie Kaufman movies are their own experience and there is nothing quite like them. The viewer knows when they are watching Charlie Kaufman movies and his organic approach to writing allows his films to stand out like none other.
Control seems to be a recurring them in his filmography and Charlie Kaufman’s career had grown to the point where he was able to direct his own screenplays. He believes that your fate is what you create and this mentality permeates all of his films, from Being John Malkovich’s puppeteer protagonist to Syndeoche, New York’s tortured artist who only finds solace in creating art as it unfolds.
In the wake of the critical acclaim that was generated by Being John Malkovich, Kaufman was able to get another one of his screenplays produced and the resulting film, the Michel Gondry-directed Human Nature, received mixed reviews and is considered to be one of his more minor works.
His next film, Adaptation, reunited him with Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze and firmly established Charlie Kaufman as a screenwriter who is not afraid to use his personal experiences to fuel the creative process. His avatar in the film is terrified to ask a woman for a date and the idea for Adaptation is based on his very real struggles with writing an adaptation for the novel The Orchid Thief.
Charlie Kaufman received a second Oscar nomination for his work on the film (the first was for Being John Malkovich) and he was ascendant on Hollywood’s A-list.
His ability to draw on things that have actually happened in his own life helps him when it comes to following characters into a story and creating worlds that are richly drawn. His writing also incorporates themes that are relevant to our times, as Being John Malkovich focused on our newfound need for avatars, while Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa took direct aim at social media ego-centrism.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
The follow up to Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, became George Clooney‘s first directorial vehicle and Charlie Kaufman took umbrage with Clooney’s methods, as he made sweeping changes to the script after consulting Chuck Barris, the game show who believed himself to be a hitman that the script was based on.
Charlie Kaufman’s desire for control fueled his eventual frustrations with the finished product, as he believes that Clooney and Barris cut him out of the process, expecting him to simply deliver a script and get out of the way.
From there, he embarked on a second creative union with Michel Gondry and the result, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, stands as one of his greatest cinematic achievements. While his approach and process may seem freestyle to some, it is clear to see that there is a method to the madness.
He received a well-deserved Academy Award for his screenplay and was finally able to seize the control he had always desired. His next two films, Synedoche, New York and the aforementioned Anomalisa, are the first where he was permitted to direct his own screenplays and while they both received great acclaim from critics, they were largely overlooked at the box office.
This has caused Charlie Kaufman to become more introspective in recent interviews and he has spoken openly about his writing process and his fear of failure. While his works are often tagged with the surrealist label, identity crises and the meaning of life are discussed on a regular basis.
His willingness to fictionalize his own life and draw on the problems he’s experienced in his own world give his scripts a much-needed touch of humanization, which allow him to explore the above themes in a much more thorough manner. A Charlie Kaufman script is not cranked out at the behest of an impatient studio, it is carefully and painstakingly crafted over the course of time, in a manner that is organic to him.
Kaufman was recently asked about his seeming obsession with the concept of authenticity and he spoke of his disinterest in anything else. To him, inauthenticity is one of the most interesting subjects and that is why it recurs in his works on such a regular basis.
He prizes the specificity of his writing style and says that when he watches films from other directors, he cannot imagine making them himself. The inability to pretend to be someone that he is not is what makes his films great, but it also serves to restrict many of them to cult classic status among cinephiles.
Despite his controlling, intensely personal style of writing, he does let this mentality bleed over into his bedside manner on set, as he believes that a set should be run much like a party. Kaufman sees the process of creating a film as a means for everyone on set to have a good time and while some might imagine him as a ruthless taskmaster on set, this is the furthest thing from the truth.
Charlie Kaufman: The Obsessive Artist
True to his neurotic, failure obsessive nature, Charlie Kaufman does wonder if the style he uses on set will detract from the final product. However, he also expresses a desire to avoid the temptation to mimic other, more exacting directors like Werner Herzog. His level of self-awareness serves him well, as he knows exactly where his strengths and weaknesses lie.
Few directors or screenwriters have ever explored the concepts of mortality and depression in quite the same way as Charlie Kaufman and he has a unique gift for telling stories that speak directly to life in modern society. His characters are angry and depressed, but they also possess the self-awareness to know that they are not alone in their suffering.
Charlie Kaufman’s ethos is summed up perfectly by a monologue from Synedoche, New York, as a minister character delivers a speech that encompasses many of the themes that are closely associated with his creative process.
The minister speaks about feelings about hurt and sadness that have existed inside of him for a long time, but he stops short of feeling sorry for himself, going on to say that he has also been pretending to be okay for just as long of a time period, because everyone is dealing with some form of hurt and sadness.
In his eyes, everyone has their own misery to handle and it makes no sense to add to anyone else’s burden by forcing them to hear about his. It is a poignant moment, one that sums up Kaufman’s filmography, style and process better than anyone else ever could.
It remains to be seen what Kaufman’s next step will be after the commercial failure of the stop motion animated Anomalisa, but it is safe to say that his name will always hold a certain amount of cachet in Hollywood circles. For better and for worse, a Charlie Kaufman film looks and feels a certain way that cannot be duplicated by less unique directors and screenwriters.
The CHARLIE KAUFMAN Screenwriting MasterClass
So when I discovered this screenwriting master class Charlie Kaufman gave at BAFTA I had to share a rare look inside the head of this master screenwriter.
He discusses the techniques of writing for the big screen.
“Your brain is wired to turn emotional states into movies, your dreams are very well written”
Seeking validation in a shared perspective from the common collective of one’s audience is wonderful for the ego, but should never be the goal of putting art together.
“Say who you are, really say it in your life, in your work..”
Prepare to have your mind blown by the master, Charlie Kaufman!
Charlie Kaufman at Sundance Café 2016
“Anomalisa” co-directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, cinematographer Joe Passarelli, and producer Rosa Tran live at Sundance Film Festival’s Cinema Café.
I’ve also added some other amazing video lectures and master classes that take you deeper down the Charlie Kaufman rabbit hole.
Once again Charlie Kaufman has push the edges of the film frame (though it was shot on digital) with his new stop motion animated film “Anomalisa.” An inspirational speaker (David Thewlis) becomes reinvigorated after meeting a lively woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who shakes up his mundane existence.
I’ll be first in line to see it. Take a look at the trailer and featurette below.
Here’s his filmography:
- Synecdoche, New York
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
- Human Nature
- Being John Malkovich
BONUS: Some of the BEST Online Screenwriting Courses & Books available:
- Aaron Sorkin Screenwriting MasterClass
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- Paul Castro’s The MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS OF SCREEN WRITING
- Paul Castro’s The Million Dollar Screenplay
- Stephan Palmer’s Good in a Room – FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION
- Michael Hauge’s & Chris Vogler’s Screenwriting & Story Blueprint: The Hero’s Two Journeys
- Karl Igelsias’s Writing for Emotional Impact – FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSIONS HERE
- Save the Cat!® The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need – FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION
- Linda Seger’s Making A Good Script Great – FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION
If you like Charlie Kaufman: Screenwriting Master Class, you’ll love my:
TOP TEN Screenwriting Books You Need to Read
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Thank you very much I am actually very happy to be here at least that’s what I am telling myself. I have never delivered a speech before which is why I decided to do this tonight.
I wanted to do something that I dint know how to do and offer you the experience of watching someone fumble because maybe I think that’s what art should offer an opportunity to recognize our common humanity and vulnerability.
So rather than being up here pretending I am an expert in anything or presenting myself in a way that will reinforced the odd ritualized lecturer lectury model, I am just telling you off the bat that I don’t know anything and if there is one thing that characterise my writing is that I always start from that realization and I do what I can to keep reminding myself of that during the process.
I think we try to be experts because we are scared, we don’t want to feel foolish or worthless, we want power because power is a great disguise. I even feel odd calling myself a writer or a screen writer, i do when I have to I put it on my income tax form but I feel like it is a lie even though it is technically true.
I write screen plays for a living but it’s not what I am. When I was young I really wanted that label, I wanted to be something you know I wanted to be a writer there is this movie SERPICO, there is a scene in SERPICO where Al Pacino was a cop and he had an artist girlfriend and there is a party scene with all this different artist types and they are saying you know well I am a painter but I work in a restaurant.
I am an actor you know but I work in the north west (2:22) and this goes on for a while and Al Pacino says I am a cop and I work for the police department. But there is that feeling when you would say you are something when you want to say you are something and you have nothing to back it up, because everybody says they are a writer or everybody says they are this or they are that.
This is what I felt and everyone else thinks it is bullshit, it is funny now that I don’t want to call myself that but at the time I did and I think that it was necessary at the time but now it doesn’t feel necessary because I think the thing I realize is that I am not those thing you know I am a person who does this and I struggle with it.
I think it was Thomas Mann who said that a writer is someone for whom writing is harder than it is for other people, which you know I thought was pretty cool and I think that’s is sort of it you know you take it seriously it is a struggle and it is interesting to me that I have been struggling with this speech for a long time.
I told them that I would do this months and months ago and this has been my job in a way, I sit at my desk and I don’t know what to do and it is very much like when I have a job writing a screen play. I wanted to do something true and I wanted to do something helpful and I think that what complicates it in addition to the fact that that’s a hard thing to figure out is that I also struggle with wanting people to like me.
You know in my fantasy I leave here and people are saying great speech you know and not only is he a great writer but, boy I really learn something tonight he really brought it you know and so as much as I know that this neediness of mine exist I also have a difficult time extricating myself from it or even fully recognising it.
When it is happening because it is a tricky thing, it’s I mean no one wants to come up here and bomb it’s really literally the stuff of night mares you know.
I have had that nightmare a lot of times and I know you want to be entertained and so for me to calculatedly not entertain you in order to be true seemed sort of selfish. So I find myself in this sort of push pull relationship with my opposing desires which I think you know is a big part of what characters are and characters do in real life.
People in real life characters and movies should, but I have gone through a lot of different version of what this evening should be and some have been really crazy and you know, I was going to do a play Trisha can attest to that they were very excited about it and so I was like holy shit now I have to do a play, because I want Trisha to like me you know and but really I ultimately decided that I just need to sort of come up here and be honest and not do a song and dance.
So I purposely kept it up in the air I picked notes but I have kept it up in the air and this increased my anxiety a thousand fold because I have notes here I honestly don’t know if this speech is 5 minutes or 3 hours. I don’t know I haven’t timed it I just don’t have no way of knowing but it is the way it is with my work is that I do feel that you sort of need to stay where you are in the moment with the work.
Sp I thought it would be helpful to start with this because if I were writing a screen play about this event I would spend a lot of time thinking about what this event is how it feels to the person speaking how it might feel to someone else, how it might feel to the audience, what it means to be an audience both as a group because an audience is an organism but also made of individuals.
Hopefully get to that later because I have written about that as well but another thing this introduction has done is it has allowed me to feel like I can go ahead and do this by being upfront that all I am is a limited struggling human being and it allows me to kind of come up here and be a limited struggling human being.
So I walked away from life so what I am offering here is a kind of thing to take from this is that it is important to free yourself and in any way you can so that you can do your work.
Here is a quote that I found, a recent quote that I found “we do not talk we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleamed from cursory reading from newspapers magazines and readers digest”.
That was actually written in 1945 by Henry Miller and I mean I think it is timely and I think what it says is the world has been on the present course it is on for a long time.
People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives every week being fed with entertainment in terms of movies TV shows newspapers you tube videos the internet and it is ludacris to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains, and it is also ludacris to believe that at the very least this mass distraction and manipulation is not convenient to the people who are in charge.
People are starving they may not know it because they are being fed with mass produce garbage, the packaging is colourful and it is loud but it is being produced in the same factories that makes pop tarts and art pads by people sitting around thinking what can we do to get people to buy more of these and they are very good at their jobs but that’s what it is that you are getting because that is what they are making.
They are selling you something and the world is built on this now politics and government are built on this corporations are built on this, interpersonal relationships are built on this and we are starving, all of us and we are killing each other and we are hating each other and we are calling each other liar and evil because it all become marketing and we want to win.
Because we are lonely and empty and scared and we would like to believe winning will change all that but there is no winning, what can be done, say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work.
Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born someone who won’t be born for 500 years. Your writing will be a record of your time it can’t help but be but more importantly if you are honest who you are you will help that person be less lonely in their world.
Because that person would recognize him or herself in you and that would give them hope and it has done so for me and I have to keep rediscovering it, its profound importance in my life.
Give that to the world rather than selling something to the world don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work and that in the end selling is what everyone must do, try not to.
This is from E Cummings, to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you everybody else, mean to fight the hardest battle which every human being can fight and never stop fighting.
The world needs you it doesn’t need you at a party haven’t read a book about how to appear smart at parties, these books exists and they are tempting but resist falling into that trap the world needs you at that party starting real conversations saying I don’t know, being kind.
My first writing job was on a TV show called GET LIFE staring Chris Elliot, the show was mostly in the voice of its creators Chris Elliot and Adam Resnic they have worked together on David Letterman show and Chris’s character came from that show.
So consequently Adam Resnic’s scripts were the best of the show and we all tried to write in Adam’s voice, that was the job and I was frustrated with my results but it had occurred to me that there was no solution to this problem as long as my job was trying to imitate someone else’s voice. I can maybe get close but I was never going to get better at it than Adam. You know Rich Lytle cant be better than Johnny Carson than Johnny Carson you know.
The obvious solution was not to throw my hands up but try to find myself in a situation where I was doing me not someone else, do you. It isn’t easy but it is essential, it is not easy because there is a lot on the way.
In many cases a major obstacle is your deeply seated belief that you is not interesting and since convincing yourself that you are interesting is probably not going to happen take it off the table, agree perhaps I am not interesting but I am the only thing I have to offer and I want to offer something and by offering myself in a true way I am doing a great service to the world because it is rear and it will help.
As I move through time and things change I change the world changes, the way the world sees me changes I aged I fail I succeed I am lost. I have a moment of calm the remnants of who I have been however, depress me embarrass me make we wistful.
The inkling of who I will be depresses me makes me hopeful scary me embarrasses me and here I stand at this cross roads embarrassed wistful depressed angry longing looking back looking forward.
I may make a decision and move from that cross roads at which point I find myself instantly at another cross roads, therefore there is only movement a screen plays movement.
It is written in time and expresses the passage of time, it is made in time and it is viewed in time it is movie it moves. That’s 2 hours I will never get back it is a favourite thing that an angry person will say about a movie he hates, but the thing is every 2 hours is 2 hours he will never get back. You cannot hoard your 2 hours.
So you are here and I am here spending our time as we must, it must be spent, I am trying not to spend this time as I spend most of my time trying to get you to like me, trying to control your thoughts to use my voodoo at the speed of light at the speed of sound, at the speed of thought, trying to convince you that your 2 hours with me are not going to be resented afterwards.
It is an ancient pattern of time usage for me and I am trying to move deeper hoping to be helpful, this pattern of time usage paints over an ancient wound and paints it with bright colours it is a slide of hand a distraction so to attempt to change the pattern let me expose the wound.
I now step into this area of Langley, I don’t not know what the wound is, I do know that it is old, I do know that there is a hole in my being, I do know that it is tender, I do believe that it is unknowable or at least inarticulate able.
I do believe that you have a wound too I do believe that it is both specific to you and common to everyone. I do believe it is the thing about you that must be hidden and protected it is the thing that is tapped dance over 5 shows a day, it is the thing that won’t be interesting to people if revealed.
It is the thing that makes you weak and pathetic, it is the thing that truly, truly, truly makes loving you impossible, it is your secret even from yourself but it is the thing that wants to live. It is the thing from which your art your painting your dance your composition your philosophical treatise your screen play is born.
If you don’t acknowledge this you will come up here when it is your time and you will give your speech and you will talk about business of screen writing. You will say that as a screen writer you are a card in a business machine, you will say it is not an art form.
You will say here this is what a screen play looks like, you will discuss character arts how to make likable characters, you will talk about box office this is what you will do this is what you will be and after you are done I will feel lonely and empty and hopeless and I will ask you for my 2 hours back.
I will do this to indicate my life of love for you and I will do this to communicate that you are a waste of time as a human being it would be a ugly thing for me to say it will be intended to hurt you, it would be wrong for me to say it would lack compassion and it will hurt you and you will either dismiss it or take it in but, in either case you will hear it and it will affect you and you will thing about what you can do next time so you can be more loveable and with that your wound will be buried further.
Or you will think about how hateful people are and how your harmony (16:26) needs to be thicker so you can proceed as planned with your ideas and with that your wound will be buried further.
As I am sure you know there is a fungus called (16:43) Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, it infects the brains of carpenter ants and it turns them into zombie salves more or less.
What happens is the ants climbed to the underside of leaves near the forest floor secure themselves to the leaves then die becoming a food source for the fungus, eventually the positioning of the ants corpse serves to allow the pores to bust out of the ants head and drain down another ant.
This is true and it is very successful there is also record of this occurring up to forty eight million years ago and to this day. The thing that is fascinating about this to me is that the ant is acting mindlessly against its own interest and the interest of its fellow ants by becoming a toll for the fungus.
I think a similar system has evolved in our culture. When I first started to work in Cyrus television I didn’t need to take a course in how to write half an hour comedy, I knew because I have been raised as a consumer of TV series. I understood the rhythms I understood the types of jokes that were acceptable, I understood the star characters and of course all of this was in service of the perpetuation of the same consumer culture that trained me and made me desire to be part of it.
I was a zombie, it is a massive issue because the business I am in it is the same business that politician and corporations are in. It is the business of selling something that is important to them by disguising it as something that is important to you and it’s ubiquitous and I don’t think it is symbiotic.
As far as I can tell the carpenter ants don’t get a dam thing out of it, so my thinking as a carpenter ant is that I want to do what I can to understand my carpenter ant self and not mindlessly disseminate the fungus pores of my masters.
I like that one too. I think for me the best way to begin to combat the system indoctrination is to look at the intention. The aphorism the road to hell is paved with good intentions doesn’t ring true to me I think intension is at the bottom of everything.
My intension is shifting and complex and sometimes at odds with each other often and if I know what they are and watch them closely as they slip and slide all over the place I have a better chance of putting something honest into the world and this is my goal. My own Hippocratic Oath I do not want to harm.
I am painfully conscious of the harm that occurs when participating in the media with unclaimed intensions, I do not want to be a salesman, I do not want to screen by me or watch me and I don’t want to do that tonight.
What I am trying to express or I would like to express is the notion of by being honest thoughtful and aware of the existence of other living beings a change can begin to happen and how we think of ourselves and the world and ourselves in the world.
We are not the passive audience for this big messed up power play we don’t have to be, we can say who we are we can assert our rights to existence we can say to the police and con men the people who try to shame us and embarrass us flatter us to the people who have no compunction about lying to us to get our money our allegiance that we are thinking, really thinking about who we are and we will express ourselves and with this other people won’t feel so alone.
This is Howard Pinter, a writer’s life is a highly vulnerable almost naked activity, we don’t have to weep about that, the writer makes his choice and is stuck with it but it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed you are out on your own, out on a limb, you find no shelter no protection unless you lie in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and it could be argued become a politician.
Swear to become a human, we get to think about things, we get to wonder it seems like quite a privilege position in the universe and I wouldn’t give it up for certainty because when you certain you stop being curious and here is the one thing I know about the thing you are certain about.
You wrong of course this is a paradox how is it possible to know that you can’t know anything, it isn’t it’s just a theory and I remain open to be proven wrong. This is also Harold Pinter, I like Harold Pinter.
“There is never any such thing as a one truth to be found in dramatic art, there are many these truths challenged each other recoil from each other reflect each other ignore each other tease each other or blind to each other. Sometime you feel you have the truth of the moment in your hand then it slips through your fingers and is lost”, that the end of that.
Because I am going to go on now and I didn’t want you to think it is Harold Pinter anymore, now this is me for a while I think yes it’s me for awhile.
A manifesto is a valuable thing it’s as is everything else, anyone tells you about how to do the things something to react against it gives you a focused a frame work with which to say why, this is also true with any psychological or emotional insight you might have or might read or see expressed.
It is always a mistake to settle on anything explanation for anything because whatever you settle on you will be wrong even if you are right. Everything is a ephemeral everything is in a constant state of flux thinking pass any conclusion you drawn will reward you with a more complex insight and a more compassionate world view, this is something I am constantly trying to learn and relearn. This si another quote that I like it is a little long so, but I think it is good.
By the guy name John Garby, I am increasingly convinced that the need to be right has nothing whatsoever to do with the love of truth but to face the implications of this means accepting a painful inner emptiness. I am not now what I sensed somehow I am meant to be.
I don’t not know what I felt from the bottom of my heart I need to know the beginning of wisdom is not to flee from this condition or distract yourself from it, it is essential not to fill it up with answers which have not been earned it is important to learn how to wait with that emptiness.
It is the desire to fill up that emptiness which leads political or religious phnai (23:17) think about your react to me think pass it why do you have that reaction, why do you react a certain way to cert things, what does your reaction have to do with certain wants.
How does it correlate how would your reaction to what I am saying change if I were older younger female a different race, British. What does it mean about you that it would change, what does it mean about the subjectivity of your opinions.
What if I was me but have a different demeanour, what if I was confident less confident what if I was more feminine, what if I was less effeminate what if I was drunk what if I was on the verge of tears.
Think about all the assessments all the interpretations that occur with each interaction, think about all that you bring with each encounter multiply that by all the people here. How much is going on in this room and how do we reap that into a movie.
The challenge of multiple points of view forces us to come up with new solutions to throwaway conventional approaches movies tend to be very concrete in their construction of events and characters, it is a tricky medium in which to deal with interior lives but I think it is really a great medium for it.
Movies share so much with dreams which of course only deals with interior lives, your brain is wired to turn emotional states into movies. Your dreams are very well written I know this without knowing any of you.
People turn anxieties crisis and longing love regrets and guilt into the beautiful rich stories in their dreams. What is it that allows us to create a freedom in our dreams that we don’t have in our waking lives.
I don’t know but I suspect part of it is that in our dreams we are not constricted by worry how we appear to others, it is a private conversation with ourselves and if we worried about it this becomes part of the dream. I think if we were better able to approach our work this way the results would be different.
So what is the screen player what might it be since we are talking specifically about screen plays tonight.
A screen play is an exploration it is about the thing you don’t know to step into the abyss. It necessarily starts somewhere anywhere there is a starting point but the rest is undetermined it is the secret even from you.
There is no template for a screen play or there shouldn’t be, there are at least many screen play possibilities as there are people who write them. We have been conned into thinking there is a pre established form. Like any big business the film business believes in mass production it is cheaper and more efficient as the business model, but I don’t want to talk about that aspect of screen writing.
Here is what I know about a screen play simply that it is a text that describes what happens in a movie and I am not even sure about this definition. I think what might make this form of endeavour exciting for writers is that they find themselves in an environment where they are encouraged to use their powers to explore the world their minds and the form itself.
Think about the staggering possibilities the marriage of life vibration and time. I think craft is a dangerous thing. I saw a trailer, you call them trailers here? I saw a trailer for a movie and I won’t say what the movie is but it is coming out soon and it was gorgeous and it was gorgeous, it was gorgeous it was gorgeous and it made me really depressed and I was trying to sort of figure out why.
I think there was an amazing amount of craft and skill on the part of the film makers in this movie and yet it was the same shit, and I know that this movie is going to do really well and I know that the people who made it is going to get rewarded for it and so the cycle continues.
So I think the danger of craft is that it needed to be in second position to what it is that you are doing and it is seductive to put it in first position often because what you are doing is meaningless or worthless or just more of the same and so you can extinguished yourself by being very, very good at it.
I think you need to be will to be naked when you do anything creatively in film or any other form that’s really what you have to do because otherwise it is very, very hard to separate it from marketing. I think that it just sort of becomes what it is about.
The speaker stands on the stage he looks out at the audience, he doesn’t really know why he is here, not really more and more in his life he finds himself in places he can’t explain not really explain. He knows he is here to give a speech and he has told himself he intends to do something good with it but he knows that reason crumbles to dusk and during investigation.
What he want is to change who he is, each predicament such as this one each challenges he accepts, he accepts in order to move him to the next level of truthfulness. Each times he goes and hoping he will come out a real person. He knows if he just takes enough risks eventually he will be something, something that lives a real life.
Sweat forms on his brown how did I know, it is amazing you know because I wrote this a week ago so, sad, pools under his arms it is but I won’t show you he can feel it dripping down his sleeves further moistening his clammy hands. Actually my hands aren’t clammy they don’t get clammy that’s one of my blessings. The only part for some reason one is wet now but that is because I rubbed my forehead.
He is to speak on the subject he has been chosen as an expert but the subject is unclear to him and he is lonely it is the truth in it. He feels trapped under burdens so immense the history he carries afforded relationships the compromised relationships.
The longing that drapes him like a shroud the want he is a wanting machine ever wanting. He looks at the audience they don’t know what to make of him, why is he reading this story up there. He is to be given a street best screen writing someone in the audience is happy a train wreck is happening and he is witnessing it.
The speaker knows this, he believes he has considered every possible audience reaction, he want to be liked by them he wants to be admired and adored he want to be found attractive. He hates himself for this, this is the stuff that it always comes down to and his goal here tonight was to be different.
He want to be real, real in this contrive place but he can’t be the truths suddenly stares him in the face this is who he is this is the real him this needy wanting thing up here for the same akrondiesment (30:35)and so does everyone else who does this.
Look at me but the pain and hollowness is real, the pain that stretches back into the haze that it is his childhood, he leaves that’s it. It is nothing like anything he has ever done he walks off the stage people have paid money he things as he leaves. This will be on you tube.
I am finished, this life I lived until this point is now different forever just by walking off the stage, will they refused to pay for my hotel room now for my flight home, this was a terrible mistake maybe I can go back he considers, maybe I can say I needed to get something backstage.
He looks around grabs a water bottle and heads back to the lectern, he tells the audience he needed some water and to please forgive the interruption. He pantomime surprise when he sees there is already water on the lectern. He makes a joke about all that water something self deprecating the usual stuff he is known for unique and easy.
He gets a laugh and he is back, back in the comfort one back in fakeville and he is ashamed but he’s got to make it through, so he pulls out the old standby on his subject of expertise and he does creaky modest bit and he gets through it, he’s played the game and he changed nothing for himself in the world, but the people who brought him here seems satisfied.
He is dispersing he had thought about this evening for months, the importance of it in his head had become un wheeled he would change course with this lecture, this would be the real him revealed for the first time and he would be free and now it’s over and its all the same. He returns to his hotel and sits at the bar there is no hope left.
I read an article about bulling recently everyone is up in arms about bulling, the vocal minority thinks it is a good thing that it is part of growing up that it builds character, what was left out of this article and doesn’t seems to be part of discussion is that bullying is a significant element of our culture.
The bullying of children by children doesn’t come from nowhere the question remains whether bullying is an inherent aspect of human nature but that doesn’t change the fact that a culture that discourages rather than encourages bulling would have a better chance to curbing it, our culture is marketing this is what we do and what is marketing trying to get people to do what you want them too.
It’s what drives our consumer culture, it’s what drives our politics it’s what drives our art music movies books fine arts is part of every research grand proposal. I don’t want to participate I don’t want to tell you how to sell a screen player how to write a hit or tell you how to fit into the existing system.
I want to tell you that I have a hope that there is another way to be in this world and that I believe that with courage and vulnerability and honesty that this stuff we put into the world will serve a better purpose.
The way movies work now and I am talking about mainstream industry the only goal is to get you to buy a product, the only goal, the only goal, the only goal the only goal! And this intention creates the movies that we sit through and the movies that we sit through create us, in government we have been reduced to the same game through trickery officiation bullying fear mongering. The goal of marketing the candidate is achieved.
I don’t understand many things I don’t know as much as I would like about anything but I am a human being and I won’t be in competition for the right to be treated decently, I won’t play that game nor should anybody have to, and in turn I will try not to use whatever access I have to the public sphere to sell things including myself.
The world is very scary now it has always has been but something grotesque is specific to our time is blanketing us. We need to see that it is not reality it is the choice we are making we are lining up other people to make for us.
I sincerely hope that I have something of interest and value to say tonight, I can’t tell anyone how to write a screen play because the trust is anything of value you might do comes from you, the way I work is not the way 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.
You are born into a body into a family into a situation into a brain chemistry into a gender into a culture into a time as am I, at times I can feel the massive gravitation pulling all these various things pulling me in different directions creating me I watch the reactions I have they are as much my father’s as they are mine.
I know that they are inherent through genes and situations just as they have been for my father and I feel immense loneliness of this prison coupled with a great shame because I can see that this prison has an open door but I can’t get through it. How weak I am, how can I not be a saner person or a healthier person or a more generous person.
My secret company tells me that I can and that it is up to me, it is a sign of great weakness if I don’t just do it and these are the priest of our culture the therapist the dad with a firm hand but, your best interest at heart, a sneaker company that runs sweat shops in third world countries.
This is our dad and I don’t know about you but I can be moved to tears by these commercials that these people put out and I think it is despicable. Allow yourself the freedom to change as you discover I am like dripping I am watching it rain off of me.
You know it’s not only nerves it is actually hot up here, so but thus wool suit which I wore because I was told that London is a chilly place, you know it’s not working really bad but I don’t know what would work I need a suit made out of like, what is that stuff you know that athletes wear sometimes mesh stuff a mesh suit would be good.
Allow yourself the freedom to change as you discover allow your screen play to grow and change as you work on it you will discover things as you work, you must not put these things aside even if they are inconvenient.
Let’s not disregard all the little voices that do not simplify, let’s not worry about what it looks like let’s not worry about failure, failure is a badge of honour it means you risk failure and if you don’t risk failure you never going to do anything that’s different from what you have already done or what somebody else is done and just know that that’s the choice you making when you won’t put yourself at jeopardy like that.
Don’t compartmentalize to make things simpler than they are don’t work towards results, allow yourself time let things brew you are thinking about it whether you realize it or not. Letting the unconscious takes over brings in freedom and surprise and remove judgement.
At every single moment every single person wants something often many things often conflicting things. Understand this about your character and yourself. Story telling is inherently dangerous if you consider a dramatic event in your life consider it as you experienced it.
Now think about how you told it to someone a year later, now think about how you told it for the one hundred time it’s not the same thing. A few components enter into the change most people think perspective is a good thing to have in a story, you can figure out character arts you can apply them all.
You can tell it from a distance with understanding and context, the problems is that this perspective is a misrepresentation of the incident it is a reconstruction with meaning and as such bears little resemblance to the event.
The other things that happens in storytelling is the process of adjust (39:15) for the audience over time. you find out which part of the story works which parts to embellished which parts to jettison, be fashion ate your goal, the reasons for telling it are to be entertaining to garner sympathy. This is true for a story told at a dinner party and it is true for stories told in movies.
I am sifting through now to see if there is stuff I should you know, oh so I should stop soon, should I stop soon. Oh I will do this part now because this sort of relates a little if, (shattered here)so in relations to that don’t let anyone tell you what the story is what it need to include, what form it must take.
As an experiment go out of your way to write an none story it will still be a story but it will have a chance to be a different story, our brains makes story it is basic to us as breeding we cannot do otherwise for yourself and by extension the rest of us with your efforts.
If you give yourself too specific an assignment you will keep yourself locked away from your work go where it takes you. If you say you want to write about homeless people and then in the end revealed their humanity you will end up with something illustrative and perhaps instructive if you say there aren’t words to put this morn I feel in me but I am going to swim in it and see what happens.
You will end up with something real but you will have to throw away any predetermined notion of what real is, it doesn’t mean you will ended up with a million dollar screen play or that critics will love it you can write to that if that is your goal. In the process you might lose track of what you are but that is okay they will assign you an identity.
With the screen play you are creating a world consider everything every character every room every just position every increment of time as an embodiment of that world look at all of this through that filer and make sure it was all consistent.
As in a painting every element is part of one whole composition, just there is nothing separate in the actual world there should be nothing separate in the world you create.
This is like a little thing that I wrote that that’s just a personal thing for me so and it is very, I don’t know, but you will see but I hate this so I am just going to share with you that I hate it.
Do not write jokes to your readers and your stage directions you know what I mean by that you know people do that don’t do that. Your job is to create an atmosphere you are trying to establish a mood. You writing you writing a story and what you are trying to do with that story is you trying to help this large group of people who are going to come together to understand the tone and the spirit and the feeling of this movie so they can come together and make it and that’s what you should spend your time on. Not with weights and stuff not winking at people.
This is old gold by the way but I am but you know some of it I have covered. I tell you a little story now because it is interesting to me and I don’t know why I am telling but it is interesting to me and it sort of it just seems like there is something apparently cinematic about it.
I run in my neighbourhood and one day I ran pass this guy who is running in the other direction, an older guy you know big hulky kind of guy really struggling you know to huffing and puffing and I kind of going down a slight hill and he was coming up the hill it is very slight and he was wearing like a head band and he is sweltered and so he passes me and he goes, well sure it is all downhill that way.
And I loved that joke you know because it is funny you know because it was a funny joke and he made the connection and it sort of a witty thing to say and so I nod my head I like this guy this is a cool guy you know and he is my friend now and so like a few weeks later I am passing by him again I see him in a distances coming towards me and we are going opposite ways and I am thinking there is the guy, that’s cool and so as we pass each other he says sure it is all downhill that way.
And I was like oh, okay you know he has got a repo tore and he doesn’t know I mean I am not that special you know he probably said it to other people maybe he doesn’t remember me, he is an older guy maybe there is you know and so but okay you know ha, ha I laughed this time I forced my laugh because I have things going on in my head I am disappointed and then I passed him again and he says it again.
And this time he is going downhill and I am going uphill and so like it doesn’t even make any sense anymore, it is not even it is not about anything and I start to have so much pain about this because I am embarrassed for him and there is something wrong with him I think you know and then it just keeps happening and it is all downhill that way. Probably heard it 7 or 8 more times and I start to avoid him.
I see him coming and I cross the street because if I can’t cross the street then I look like I am really focused on my running you know just and he says it anyway if he passes me if I am not looking and I don’t know why I am telling the story except that I like the idea of changes overtime and nothing is changed you know.
What changed is all in my head and has to do with a realization on my characters part through time there is no outward story here you know and it can only be told in a form it can be told in a painting I guess is the point I am making.
I wouldn’t know how to do that and I think that you know that’s sort of I mean I am probably reaching here to sort of say this but I do think that you know that when you doing a movie when you doing a screen play you have to know why it is a movie and if it doesn’t have to be a movie then you shouldn’t make it.
Because it is very important that what you do is specific to the medium in what you doing it and that you utilize what is specific about that medium to do the work, if you can’t think about why it should be done this way or see it done this way then it doesn’t need to be done this way and then you should figure out what it is about if you want to do it then it need to be told in the form of a movie.
So I wanted to say that I hope he doesn’t, you know I think about you tube I really do think about it because you know this stuff just ends up on there and everybody in the world says what a jerk you are or whatever you know and it is a very weird thing to think about that’s the thing that you are contending with when you come and do anything in public.
This other sort of element of mindless aggression that exist on the internet and I don’t know. I got a bunch of other stuff I think it is 8.02 I think I should stop and do the Q & A. because my stuff is the B material.
Take a couple minutes? No I don’t want a couple minutes let’s just get to it.
My name is David Cox I don’t know what you are going to do with that information but that is my name, it is a great privilege to be asked to do this, this evening (49:00) for standing up there thank you very much.
Charlie Kaufman: You welcome.
DAVID: The importance to be place on honesty in the world that you say does not harm your offence pride do you find yourself surprised that you become involved in what is essentially a collaborative medium where you have given your work over to other people to interpret, do you ever feel compromised or vulnerable in that respect.
Charlie Kaufman: I mean I had the good fortune of working with directors who have been very collaborative with me and so that I have been, I had a voice in most of the things that I have written that I didn’t direct, but you know I do feel that I wanted to take that step to direct things as well.
Not because of dissatisfaction with those movies but just you know I like the idea of it of having that kind of ultimate control.
DAVID: And you stay in control of those scripts and of the projects from being (50:05)
Charlie Kaufman: With one exception I was, there was nothing, changes that were made that I made and no, for the most part I agreed with and I think there were a couple of probable battles that I lost but they were honest battles.
DAVID: That was some of the dangers of manipulating the audience of being to intuitive as an artist as for a better word entertainer and have you gotten to the point now where you are writing scripts now and worried that you are entertaining too much and you start second guessing this is slightly the stories is become too seductive become too quick and easy.
Do you always check yourself and often try and get back to some of those values that you describe just and almost make for.
Charlie Kaufman: I check to see I understand what I did, what I wrote and why I wrote it, I don’t have anything against entertaining is a really hard word for me because I don’t really know what that means, but I like when people like my things I mean I don’t I am not crazy, well I am crazy but I am not that crazy but it has to be on the terms that makes sense to me. I want to like it.
If other people like it that’s really good and great because it means that it is something that I have said somehow you know resonated with somebody and that’s amazing I like that but it has to be the thing that I have said for my own purposes, you know.
DAVID: when you writing things did you have these thoughts or have you said or seen something.
Charlie Kaufman: No I did very much so I mean that’s what I did I wrote it just because it was an idea that appealed to me and it interest me I thought it was funny and there were a lot of issues in that script that were real issues for me and they were kind of like I don’t want to say diverted but somehow they were put through a strainer of comedy because I like comedy it’s not , that’s not a compromised for me you know but yes I wrote it for myself with no expectations that it was going to get made really, none.
DAVID: Over the course of the year since John Malkovich have you such become more conscious of I guess the fact that you are working in an industry which has potentials to do some arm to somebody.
Charlie Kaufman: I think I have become more aware of it but I also think that the industry and the world is gone through some changes in the last few years than it used to be. The industry used to be a little bit more welcoming to people who were at an odds or eccentric or something I don’t think it is anymore.
DAVID: When you writing script or when you writing something new you thinking the business side of thing and you thinking how you going to sell this and you thinking about the problems that could lie ahead and has it become harder though.
Charlie Kaufman: Well I wrote one screen play after my last movie which the economy and you know the business completely changed around that time so, plus the fact that my movie the one that I directed did very, very little business. That combined thing put me in a position of being aware of how difficult it was going to be to get things made for me but, in a way I wrote in response to that and to that the next thing I wrote.
I did shy away from doing my own thing or try to fit into a form, I mean I almost just thought I am not going to do this anymore but then I though well I will do this and do it on my terms and see what happens you know.
DAVID: And so then you have a sort of brand name and it was created long before the press (54:07) coined to and people anticipate the sort of work you do and there is others with a feeling of you would work in a particular style is that a dangerous thing for a writer to suddenly believe you fit that people expect a certain thing and that you always almost become a character to some extent, do you (over lapping)
Charlie Kaufman: I don’t feel that way about myself, I don’t think that way and I don’t and I would never intentionally play on it. I mean I think that there is a chance that I always try to do something that I don’t know how to do and I always try to do something different but you know I am a person with a very specific existence and a very specific background like everybody is and the stuff that comes out of me might resemble other things that come out of me you know.
But I don’t try for that in fact I try for the opposite you know there is things I just wrote that hopefully is going to get made is a musical now I have never done that before so I did it.
DAVID: That’s a conscious thing sit down writing you know your comfort zone perhaps there (55:22) you make sure of that comfort zone is that something you actually writing and you think that’s too easy.
Charlie Kaufman: No the comfort zone for me is the kind of stuff that I was talking about tonight I mean the lack of comfort zone for me is to say something that makes me vulnerable in the world, you know the movie is about stuff that is stuff that I am thinking about. I always try to write from what it is what I am thinking about at the time that I am writing. I always try to sort of centred on that because that is the sort of lack of respective thing that I was trying to talk about before you know, there is too many safe guard when you put yourself out of it and say you are going to write about this and the best way for me to find that place where I got a lot of emotions, a lot of agitation and a lot of fear or whatever is to make that what the story is, what the movie is.
And not try to hid it and the reason it is a musical is because I have a tendency to write very interior things and I always try and figure out new way to express that and this particular movie which is a lot of which takes place on the internet.
There is a lot is isolated people at computers and they are not talking to anybody I mean that’s word by definition who they are they don’t have anybody any friends and I want to express their thoughts and I didn’t want to do voice over and I didn’t want to do soliloquies so I thought what if they sing their emotional you know states and so I like writing songs you know it likes something to do when I can’t think I like to make things rhyme.
So it is kind of like it is fun for me and so the thing is it has almost 50 songs in it this mover so which is a lot but it is not all like songs some of them are snippets you know and there is no they are not like production numbers they are very interior and they are you know no one is breaking into songs, so I think it will fit into it a lot of time I am not sure.
DAVID: Okay we should open it up to the audience (57:40)so if we just start with the fellow in the middle here.
Q: Thank you I am interested to hear you talk about your relationship with science to what extent does science in form your thinking in your work it seems that no one has done a really good job of integrating and the understanding the universe and scientific terms into you know characters and their thoughts their view of the world and point as well as you do in your speech and as you detected in your speech and adaptation.
Just in what sense does science in form your thinking and to what extent is it difficult to romanticise what science tells you that is sometimes unromantic quite harsh.
CHARLIE: The thing in adaptation is the beginning of the world stuff is that the thing you are talking about in adaptation?
A: You spoke about genetics you spoke about weaver ants and power science and that adaptation and you spoke about genetic inheritance hinting lack of free will kinds of things which.
CHARLIE: Some of that is philosophy maybe I don’t know, I am really interested in philosophy and science I am a layman you know and there was point there where I was really sorry that I have no mathematic skill because I became really interested in physics through sort of popular physic books and in every popular physic books there is a (59:12).
You know you don’t know what we are really talking about you know, we are going to pretend that we are talking to you now but you have no idea what we are talking about and I find that really frustrating and but I didn’t know what to do I couldn’t at that point see. I don’t think I had any mathematical talent I guess it’s what it is so.
My father is an engineer was an engineer and you know I use to go to his office and look at all that sort of in scribble stuff on the black board that they use to draw on and I was like awed by it but it just looked like something and there was no way I was going to understand and I didn’t.
But I mean you know when I am interested in and I am interested in reading stuff that’s I just saw this article the other day that was really crazy and fascinating to me there is by studying with MRI the brains reaction to certain visual imagery they have been able to kind of put together a library of impulses so that they can now recreate and based on what’s going on electrically in the brain they can recreate the image and have you heard about this.
A: It is called the university it is paten recognition looking at neuro.
Charlie Kaufman: But I mean to the point where they show the image and the real thing like this work is being done by a guy named Jack Allen at Berkley and the point where they have a picture of Steven Martin as inspector Crewso and then they have the brain version of it and its like I mean you can’t tell it is Steve Martin you can tell it is a guy and I was like wow, that’s going to get really freaky scary really soon what they are going to be able to do, are you a scientist?
A: I work on film which uses science as (1:1:09).
DAVID: Okay so you with your hand up.
Q: When you talk about your films in classifying them the one you feel least bad about I don’t know if you take that chunky mentors that chunky runners to heart and it is all downhill from here, but which of your movies you feel least bad about and why.
Charlie Kaufman: I actually don’t feel bad about any of the movies so I don’t know how to answer that question, I kind of like, because I am so involved with most of them in the process of making them I feel very attached to them and very sort of responsible for them you know like so I love things about all the movies I have done.
I would say that the one that I am leased attached to is the one that I worked least on, but I like you know say I like my movies say I am arrogant but I don’t feel bad about them, should I feel bad about them? Do you hate my movies?
DAVID: I have a question just pass the microphone back behind you.
Q: This is quite personal question but given the very personal talk before I thought it was apt, I think the reason that a lot is ahead right now including you to an extent is because we innately are inquisitive, we innately are unsettled and we are innately are disillusioned and seeing you talk just for like it out to rest my disillusion is very few people who are in a position of influential status whereby they are completely truly honest and I think you are one of those few people and I just want to know whether once you reach that state is there any relief to the questions that make you write.
Charlie Kaufman: The questions that make me write.
Q: The questions that were in your mind that you thought of for a very long time is there any relief to any of it once you have written and reach that acclaim.
Charlie Kaufman: No not for me I will tell you one thing though that’s revealed is that being well known doesn’t solve any of your problems and I didn’t know that I thought it would, I really, really wanted you know I had fantasies about having that I mean it solves certain problems practically like it’s you know like I have a better chance of getting a movie made than somebody who doesn’t have a reputation kind of thing.
I had a great chance now but better you know much better but my own personal problems my own sort of like the things that made me, me I still got them and it is a good thing to know and I don’t know if you can know that without having it happen and realizing it but I am so insecure you know I am such an insecure person,
I have always been and I am, I mean I will tell you this years ago what I am doing tonight no way in hell would I have done this, no way in hell could I have talked here got up on stage so maybe there are some things that are better for me just because I have been exposed to it and have more and I think that’s a good thing for me.
Because it was a big issue and when I got my first writing job I couldn’t talk in the writing room I was working on a sit com and I could not talk, I could not talk I mean it wasn’t like I chose not to talk and I didn’t talk, I couldn’t open my mouth no words would come out and that went on for six weeks and I thought I was going to get fired I mean and I probably should have been but they didn’t. But I was so terrified of this in this room of 6 guys you know so that’s who I was.
DAVID: The gentleman against the wall.
Q: 2 questions, one I would love to hear what was the germs or inspirations that co last the produce John Malkovich that one thing and then watching it as you watched it danced around I guess Los angles and eventually get made what were you thinking you know what was the process for you watching that actually be a real bust.
Charlie Kaufman: I just wrote it I mean I was off from my sit come job and I wrote it while I was waiting for hiring season and my idea was that I would write a script and maybe use it to try and get assignment work so that’s what I did and the germs were you know I had this idea that someone finds a portal and someone had and then I had another idea that somebody has a story about someone having an affair with a co-worker and neither one was going anywhere in my head and I just aside to see if I could combine them and I just wrote it.
You know it actually got positive response it was, I started to get kind of a little known because of it, people would read it and tell me how funny it was and invite me in for meetings and tell me that nobody would ever make the movie, I had maybe 15 meetings like that so I believed that and I wasn’t really expecting it to get made, so I was like oh cool maybe I would get a job offer and then somehow I got spotted by Jones and he was in a position at the time to get a movie made and it was the movie he wanted to make.
So when that was happening then it was, I don’t know we were just making a movie I didn’t really expect it to be anything I didn’t expect it to change, I mean it really ended up changing a lot for me but I didn’t expect it, I don’t think Spike expected it either it like this you know.
I remember when they went to the Venice film festival which was the first exposure that it had and I wasn’t invited but they went you know Spike and Cameron Diaz and Katherine Kettering I guess I don’t know is Malkovich was there Hugh Quzack was there and I just got the phone call that it was like this big that and it was like and then we got these articles written about it and it was cool and exciting I don’t know if that answered your question, I feel like you are dissatisfied.
DAVID: It will be one more question and the gentleman who has the mike.
Q: I just after being unfortunate to hear after a new eras a few years ago I am hearing you speak tonight about not having mathematical talent when writing your play I was just wondering as a writer and using words to communicate the truth that you feel much fated to share that whether in the future we can expect to write in other forms novels plays poetry, is that as a write do you feel you have an relationship with language in that way or is it just.
Charlie Kaufman: I don’t, you know what I am serious when I said before I am serious that I don’t consider myself a writer and not only like oh, because I don’t want to label myself, I read something that somebody wrote and go shit man.
I haven’t had to do that you know and so I don’t know if I don’t think I have writing talent either but yes I will continue to do it, I mean I like quotes Robert Benchely has a quote something to the effect, I don’t have it written down but it is like, “by the time I realize I have no writing talent I was too famous to give it up.”
But I am definitely going to write plays that’s my plan and one I would love to write a novel I don’t know if I know how to do that I thought about it I really want to be I always get sort of like scared when it comes to doing it.
DAVID: Time is up I am afraid thank you very much for coming and join me in say thank you.