The Average Versus the Mean or It’s Not Called Screen Talking

The graduate screenwriting program at UCLA enjoys an embarrassment of riches. We receive fifteen times as many qualified applications as we have available slots for new writers. The ‘take rate’ for students admitted is virtually one hundred percent. That is, among applicants admitted, almost everyone enrolls. Continue reading…  

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Richard Walter Commentary in LA Times: “Losing Brad Pitt’s Plan B puts focus on Paramount Pictures’ strategy”

In the December 12, 2013 issue of the LA Times’ story, “Losing Brad Pitt’s Plan B puts focus on Paramount Pictures’ strategy”, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television professor Richard Walter commented: “Paramount’s paradigm is a different model. It’s a business organization run by MBAs, and I am not saying that in a pejorative way.” To […]

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Do Audiences Want Tent Pole Movies or Story?

In an article on The Lone Ranger, Gilbert Cruz discusses how the movie represents what’s truly wrong with Hollywood blockbusters. Cruz starts by reporting how “George Lucas and Steven Spielberg recently took part in a symposium in which they predicted an imminent ‘implosion’ in the system as a result of the industry’s current obsession with […]

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USA TODAY Op-Ed — Movie audiences seek emotion, not data

USA TODAY Op-Ed from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television screenwriting chair, Richard Walter, on the type of truth movie audiences seek: not mere data but emotion. “Art is the first part of ‘artifice’ and ‘artificial.’ To fully and faithfully serve audiences, film artists ought to take every liberty they can to make a […]

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The Writer – Not Director – Is the First Artist in Film

Michael Cieply, the main New York Times reporter covering Hollywood, had a recent piece wondering why mainstream directors of mainstream movies had not been snubbed by the Academy in favor of international directors of quirky, indie, (relatively) low budget movies. I don’t like to answer a question with a question, but, Who cares? I love […]

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Richard Walter on “The Scandal in My Life”

The scandal in my life is that I don’t go out to the movies that often, and watch precious little TV. Hey, I already have tenure. I shouldn’t have to endure any more boring movies and meretricious (look it up) TV fare. During the awards season, however, the studios send me oodles of screeners. At […]

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My Shower with the Supervisor

I am a compulsive, obsessive swimmer. I swim 1700 meters (just over a mile) seven days a week at UCLA’s incomparable Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Since joining the film faculty in the ‘70s I have swum (literally) eleven thousands miles in the Donald K. Park Pool. That’s like swimming to New York and back, and […]

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Pundits: Pay Closer Attention to ‘Real’ Vs. ‘Reel’ Life

The nation continues to reel in the face of the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which at the time of this writing is still only a couple of weeks old. Surely there can be no experience more dreadful than to lose a child. To contemplate the senselessness of the events in Connecticut, however, provides […]

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More Bad Art Than Good?

At my house we’ve been watching the screeners that the studios send to Academy and various Guild members. As always, there’s more bad art than good. That is, alas, art’s way. Several of the films I’ve not yet seen and I already hate them because of their length. I say sight-unseen that The Master is […]

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A Look Back at Films of 2012

This seems to have been a reasonably good year for films. Lincoln blew me away! I saw it at a Writers Guild screening with writer Tony Kushner in attendance doing a Q & A after. I generally avoid seeing movies at the Guild because I don’t like the audiences. Half the group loves the movie […]

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