Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Elia Kazan on the importance of cutting

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Another rule I have found useful is: Every time you make a cut, you improve a scene. Somerset Maugham, a wise old man, said that there are two important rules of playwriting: “One, stick to the subject. Two, cut wherever you can.” Another wise man said: “If it occurs to you that something might be cut, it should be cut.”

Paul Osborn, an experienced and smart playwright and screenwriter, invited me to a screening of a movie made by the producer Sam Goldwyn. Sam asked Paul his opinion. “Needs cutting,” said Paul. This made Sam frantic because he thought the same but didn’t know what to do about it. “But where?” he asked. Paul answered, “Everywhere.”

Elia Kazan, Kazan on Directing

Written by nevalalee

March 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

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