While you can probably find these several places online, Gotham Writers has put together a whole series of “Tips from the Masters.” Today’s master is writer/director Billy Wilder known for many great films, but my favorite is “Some Like It Hot.”
Now, you might be thinking what can I learn from a screenwriter/director whose best films were filmed in black and white? And not for artistic reasons, but because color wasn’t the norm. Well, if you like to learn from the best, you’ll learn a lot from Billy Wilder
The best example of Billy Wilder’s skills that I ever heard was about how he was able to film just what he needed to edit a masterpiece. He saw it all so clearly that he didn’t have to film coverage, or multiple angles of every scene. The benefit was two-fold. (1) He didn’t wear out his crew, talent or budget filming things he’d never use. And (2) the studio couldn’t re-edit his films because he never gave them extra footage. His movie could only be cut one way–his way!
For me, Tip #6 rings so true. It’s strange how many writers don’t understand structure. (You sure couldn’t have said that about Billy Wilder.) Thing is… all script problems can be traced back to Act One.
Hope you find a couple Wilder tips to make your own!