Happy Birthday, David Mamet, born 30 November 1947
- People ask me, ‘What do you do?’ And I tell them I’m a writer, but always with the silent reservation, ‘I am, of course, not really a writer. Hemingway was a writer.’
- Life in the movie business is like the beginning of a new love affair: it’s full of surprises, and you’re constantly getting fucked.
- Every scene should be able to answer three questions: Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don’t get it? Why now?
- A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.
- It’s hard to write a good plot, it’s very hard.
- Writers are asked, ‘How could you know so much about [fill in the profession]?’ The answer, if the writing satisfies, is that one makes it up. And the job, my job, as a dramatist, was not to write accurately, but to write persuasively. If and when I do my job well, subsequent cowboys, as it were, will talk like me.
- All drama is about lies. All drama is about something that’s hidden. A drama starts because a situation becomes imbalanced by a lie… At the end of a play the lie is revealed. The better the play the more surprising and inevitable the lie is. Aristotle told us this.
- Films have degenerated to their original operation as carnival amusement - they offer not drama but thrills.
- The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always, ‘What does the protagonist want?’ That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants.
- Our job, as writers is to do our jobs.
- Anyone can write five people trapped in a snowstorm. The question is how you get them into the snowstorm. It’s hard to write a good play because it’s hard to structure a plot. If you can think of it off the top of your head, so can the audience. To think of a plot that is, as Aristotle says, surprising and yet inevitable, is a lot, lot, lot of work.
- No one enjoys being equal.
Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director. Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations forGlengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow. He has Oscar nominations for The Verdict and Wag the Dog.
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