Confidence To Write The First Screenplay by Matthew Berkowitz

Film Courage: We will go back to your first feature WILD IN BLUE. You had made two short films previously, where did you get the confidence to know that you could write it and then execute on it?

Matthew Berkowitz, Filmmaker: I just saw it as confidence is really what I have. I mean you have confidence as a filmmaker for sure. But it’s more like I just had a vision of what I wanted the movie to feel like and sound like and the characters to say and if I was able to articulate that then I felt confident in my abilities. I just think it came through doing it for me and it’s also like as a filmmaker you have to own what you do, right?

If you own your words and you own the material you are making and you own up to it, right? Then I think with that comes confidence so you are willing to take the risks and make the movie you want to make. It’s scary but you have to be able to have confidence in order to do that.

Film Courage: Where do you go for screenwriting guidance? Do you go to a book? Do you go to a website?

Matthew: I’ve read Save The Cat, I’ve read other books and I’ve read a lot of screenplays. I think I’ve read the TAXI DRIVER screenplay like probably 15 times, 20 times. So you just read screenplays just the same way you watch movies to see how movies are done, you read screenplays.

I had a class in college where all you did was watch your favorite movies. You watched like [Alfred] Hitchcock’s films and he broke down each act and each structure and you broke down the script and how it corresponds to the movie and the movie to your script and so you just keep breaking it down.

You want to see how they shot the scene, how they covered it. You watch the movie, you pause it, you look at it, look at the shot. Why did the shot go from a dolly to a wide and why did the wide go to the close-up here and why is it a down angle pointed up? Why do the shots exist the way they do on screen? Just look at it. That was my education, I just watched my favorite films.

Questions For The Viewers: Where do you go for screenwriting guidance?

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