First Screenwriting Book Read and 10,000 Hours Of Movies by Adam William Ward

Film Courage: When did you read your first screenwriting book and which one was it?

Adam William Ward, Actor/Filmmaker: Oh…my first one? I think my first book was actually Save The Cat [Author Blake Snyder], which was a really good book and it was about outlining. If anybody wants to be a filmmaker, I would suggest that book (Save The Cat).  If you want to be a filmmaker it lays out structure really well. 

Not everything has to be formulaic but almost everything has been done at this point. 

So even when I’m making now where I’m making this book Catch The White Tiger [Catch the White Tiger: How I Achieved the American Dream With $28 by Authors Tony Assali and Michael Ashley], it’s a biopic so I go and watch all biopics.

What kind of biopic do I want to make? THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is very different from THE FOUNDER, you know what I mean? So the blueprint is there in a way. That helps you make a blueprint that book [Save The Cat].

That’s a very helpful book but I feel like watching movies was the most helpful for me. My brother who is my writing partner will send me script and be like “Here.” He just sent me three scripts yesterday of all of these biopics. I’d rather watch the movies because I know that a script can change so much compared to making a movie. 

When you’re seeing it in the movie it might be improv, it might be whatever. But that could still be a script. Maybe it wasn’t a script, maybe it wasn’t a script but it could have been a script if you wrote it that way.

So I kind of like watching the final product more than reading the script in the sense of learning when it comes to GOODFELLAS reading the script or watching the movie, I’d rather watch the movie and analyze that. But my brother is the opposite so it just depends on how you learn.

And with the Internet you can get your hands on so many scripts and learn so much. You can read the script for GOODFELLAS. When I was a young kid you could never get your hands on a script like that unless you went to the American Film Institute or one of these big film schools that have those kind of scripts and then you could read and learn from it. Nowadays people can learn so easily with the Internet. It’s a great thing if you want to learn.

Film Courage: What three scripts did he send you?

Adam: He sent me THE WOLF OF WALLSTREET. He sent me THE FOUNDER and he sent me GOODFELLAS (that’s why I brought them all up).

I think I opened THE WOLF OF WALLSTREET and read the first couple of pages and was like Ahhh. I’ll watch the movie. I don’t know if I’ll read it or not. But he’s read it and he’s my writing partner. 

I would like to read them just for fun but I feel like now is not the time. For me I get more from a movie than a script because I’m a filmmaker. He’s a script writer. He wants to just be a script writer (my brother Charlie Ward). I want to be a filmmaker and an actor. I write scripts out of necessity, I don’t really want to write scripts. I write them because I don’t have a script. I’ve been blessed with the fact that at least I know structure well and I’ve watched…I used to watch two or three movies a day when I was a kid and I moved from Philadelphia when I was a kid to Roseburg, OR and Glide, OR when I was 12 years old and there was nothing to do.

I went from the mall and the skating rink to the like okay there’s a lot of trees around, there’s nothing to do. The first neighbor is like a mile away. I would just watch movies like crazy, I’d watch two or three movies a day. All of my free time was spent watching movies or running around.

I’ve heard it before that you have to spend 10,000 hours on your craft to really be a master at it. Well I easily watched over 10,000 hours of movies to be where I’ve gotten. 

And honestly that’s what makes you an artist in a way because the things that used to…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).





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