Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of Milk, recently participated in a roundtable discussion featured in The Hollywood Reporter. Lance and five other screenwriters reflected on their industry experiences, and provided details about their individual writing processes.
Getting going is tough. I'll stare at blank screens, and I'll check my Web sites and blogs. But once I get going, it's six hours in the morning, then lunch, and then six hours after that, then dinner. I get really obsessive. But I just plow through it. For me, that first 10 pages, I really get detailed, detailed, detailed. And then it's just kind of a disastrous mess.
He was also asked about working with nonfiction material, and how to balance that with the needs of dramatic storytelling.
I did so much research on this. It was years of going up there and trying to find the real-life people who had been involved in that political scene who were still willing to talk about what had happened. There was some real sadness around some of these folks. It was like they had their father stolen away from them, and they had been trying to get this story told for so long and kind of given up. So that was tough. When the dam finally broke, it was a ton of information.
Check back tomorrow for two more quotes from the screenwriters' discussion, and mark your calendar for Milk's opening day: November 26!