What can screenwriters and filmmakers learn from the wise words of writer/director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do in the Shadows)?
Welcome to our ongoing Learning from the Masters and Industry Insiders series where we seek out and feature excellent videos, interviews, and discussions of the art, craft, and business of screenwriting and pull the best words of wisdom, writing tips, and screenwriting advice.
Here we turn to the BAFTA Guru video How Being Yourself Can Make You Hilarious | Taika Waititi on Filmmaking and share some of Waititi’s best quotes, accompanied by our own brief elaboration.
“Writing, for me, is a very lonely part of the process… I usually do veer between crushing self-doubt and an overwhelming sense of triumph.”
Taika Waititi is one of the most critically-acclaimed and successful screenwriters and directors working today — and he still feels just as vulnerable as any newbie screenwriter.
That self-doubt never goes away, so don’t let it offer stop you from soldiering on.
“One of the tricks I’ve learned is to keep writing no matter what. Force yourself to write and write and write. There might be times where I have no idea what I’m going to write.”
When you’re stuck, too many screenwriters throw up their arms and point their fingers to “writer’s block.” Writer’s Block is an excuse. You just have to keep writing. You’ll get through it.
“I do think there’s always a better way if you’re open to it.”
Don’t always just settle for the first thing you write within a scene, sequence, moment, or script as a whole. Always believe that there’s a better way. Question yourself and your choices.
“I found that my voice was [about] trying to find a balance between comedy and drama.”
The best comedy has drama in it. The best drama has comedy in it.
“I like to find things that seem dangerous to me… things that feel that I’d be nervous for most of the time that I’m making it.”
There’s something magical about using fear to drive you through something difficult. It heightens your senses. And in writing or directing, you can use those heightened senses to write and direct better cinematic stories.
Watch the whole video for much more screenwriting and filmmaking wisdom from Taika Waititi!
And become a member of TSL 360 to enjoy the LARGEST screenwriting education content library, featuring masterclasses, deep-dive interviews, and lectures from Academy Award-winning screenwriters, TV show-runners, producers, literary managers, agents, studio executives, and leading educators – all in one place.