Five Questions for Lawrence Kasdan
The Guild Screenings will debut this month with four films by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan: The Big Chill (October 10), Body Heat and Grand Canyon (October 17) and The Accidental Tourist (October 24). A Screen Laurel recipient, six-time WGA nominee (and 1983 winner) and four-time Academy-Award nominee, Kasdan’s work spans decades and genres, from epics and comedies to crime noir and intimate human dramas. WriteNow talked to the acclaimed screenwriter about his career, television and writer’s block. 

(October 3, 2013) 

Photo: Mark Hanauer
Lawrence Kasdan  

How has working in so many genres made you a better writer?  

LK: I always thought of genres as vessels and certain forms you use. You’re always telling the same story essentially as a writer, just finding a different vessel to put it in.

What’s the first thing you do when you sit down to write a new script?  

LK: There’s a sense of starting the whole learning process over again, doing it for the first time every day. You may have some built-up confidence, but every day is a new start. Of course, you don’t want it to be that way. You want to have left off (the day before) knowing exactly what to do. But it’s never like that. It’s always, ‘How do I this?” ‘How can I achieve it?’ Every script is a little scary.

Do you ever get writer's block?  

LK: I get it once an hour. But you power through. Sometimes the work you do to power through comes out to be not very good. Sometimes it’s better than you think it is. This happens in writing and directing all the time. Sometimes we judge it incorrectly at the moment of doing.

Many screenwriters today are working in television . Have you considered television?  

LK: Definitely. Clearly the best stuff is being done on television. Hopes of getting a good movie made are so slim these days. Everything has moved away from drama and people and emotion and the inquiry into human behavior. Basically the studios won’t make a movie about that. So that whole world is gone where you can explore things. TV is not like that. This is the golden age of television, and everything you’re interested in is happening on television.

Do you have any advice for screenwriters coming into the business?  

LK: My advice has always been the same. Don’t give up. When I was trying to get into the business, which took a while, I read an interview with Frank Pierson, who said the only people making movies are the ones who didn’t quit.

After the screening on October 24 Kasdan will be on hand to talk about his work and career. RSVPs required.


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