It’s always been helpful to me to learn about other creatives’ process; how they overcome obstacles; what their struggles are; how they manage time; how they manage the work/life balance; how they tackle challenges – all of it.
Scott: I’ve written some nonfiction-based stories as well and it strikes me that character development, it’s a different beast than if you’re generating characters from whole cloth because you’ve got a wealth of content. It’s like these are real people with full, complete lives. What to focus on, what things to omit. Is that a particular challenge for you when you’re dealing with nonfictional characters?
Liz: I think, if it is a challenge, then I shouldn’t be writing that script. For me, if it’s a challenge to find the perspective of the character, then that’s why it shouldn’t be a movie or it shouldn’t be whatever because, for me, the perspective of the character is the thing that I should be the most attracted to, because then that’s the reason I tell the story.
If you’re just telling…I think Sorkin said this actually. If you’re telling a story about a place, then that’s a TV show. If you’re telling a story about a character or a time, then maybe that’s a movie. If you’re telling a story about…
I told a story about, for instance, The Post. It is two people in 1971 that takes place over the course of about a week, that’s not a TV show. With Only Plane, it’s one day and it’s really three or four characters that you’re very, very much committed to and in their shoes.
I think, for me, if I have a problem getting into the character’s shoes, then I have made a very grave mistake of tackling that project. I actually think, with fictional characters, that is the problem for me because I do work in nonfiction so much.
I think it’s sometimes very nice to find people in history that you never knew about and find a shared experience that you’ve had. It is a way for an audience to be nonjudgmental about the character, because it’s a person who lived in history. They can take it as that.
Whereas, a fictional character, sometimes you know it was generated from somebody’s brain, and you know it wasn’t a real person. Sometimes you can poke holes in them that way. I sometimes find the generating from an original character standpoint much more challenging.
What types of creative/business advice resonates with you?