Inside HBO's Writers Room with Daniel Knauf | Bulletproof Screenwriting



you know now can you talk a little bit about the writers room and what it's like to be in that writers room for people who have never been in the writers room writers rooms there's writers rooms of work and writers rooms don't work where you know the shows that I've run the shows that I've been in charge of the writers room I take great pride in when when I'm running a room it's running on all cylinders and you have five or six writers in the room and I'm usually writers assistant taking notes you have you're using cards or whiteboards in your breaking story your job is to sit as a group and break story and to me the key is first of all everybody has to feel safe you know they have to feel like they're not gonna be ridiculed if they come up with something silly one thing that I really like Juan Worf brought this to our room and Carnevale and in according to him that's it's an old Gene Roddenberry of to attract his thing called a stupid stick and you designate something it can be anything it's been an object and if you pick this thing up and you hold it and pitch something nobody can make fun of you it's got supernatural powers that's awesome so and often it's the stupid stick pitch that really gets breaks again like usually the reaction is that I think you should have picked up the stupid stick that's actually really smart or it'll be yeah that's stupid but you know if you get that which fly gets every it just breaks a logjam and I mean really the key to me of successfully running a room and I think the best I love analogies but the best analogy I've found for a writers room is you know you're drawing your drawing juice you're drawing story out of the ether as a writer it's bubbling up through your story well it's being informed by your own experiences it's been filtered by your own experiences and interpreted by your own experiences but that story comes from somewhere else I truly believe the more I do this that writers and artists artists of all stripe are the only people on earth that are actually in daily in daily communication was with supernatural I mean I just there's something else I can't tell you how many times I've written something and uh oh yeah holy and it's nothing I've ever seen and it's nothing I've ever experienced for God's sake and it's coming from somewhere else and so you know you're basically light bulb and there's a power station you know they down the street I look at it is you know to keep the power station thing going is like you're driving through the desert here in California there's you're out towards Nevada there's these solar collectors it's you know hundreds of mirrors on the desert for all of those mirrors focused on a heat element at the top of a tower that is you know moving turbines down below and I look at it as good writers room as all the people are taking that that mojo that story mojo that juice and sort of focusing it on you know the person who's running the room and and and it's like it's amplifying everybody there you can't if you have a good well or on writers room nobody can really remember who came up with what it becomes it becomes pure I'm not just saying it because I like Star Trek but it becomes it it becomes a hive mind and there's only one writer in the room there really is only one writer in the room but he's he's the combination of you know the the four or six or twelve twelve writers that are all sitting in the room focusing their mirrors at that center point which is just you know forging the story and it all kind of melds together you know and so it's not you know the 12 equals 1/12 creates one writer you know and that that takes in the midst trust and in in the process in and in measured generosity and more than that just making sure it's fun

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