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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, November 21, 2014

I was thinking that we might have a bit of a Mike Nichols retrospective, but in fact he was so prolific that it is difficult to avoid his work. Last week, for example, we watched Closer, a movie that surprised me-- I kept getting exasperated with the characters but felt like I had to keep watching. The other evening I came home to find that A and CLA were watching The Birdcage. Regarding Henry and Wolf are kind of Lawyer Movies that I have to account for in my ongoing Lawyers in Movies project. And of course The Graduate and Barefoot in the Park are evergreens.

So instead, a couple of things that Nichols had to say about filmmaking and storytelling. First, via Mark Evanier, five rules for filmmaking:
  1. The careful application of terror is an important form of communication.
  2. Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.
  3. There's absolutely no substitute for genuine lack of preparation.
  4. If you think there's good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.
  5. Friends may come and go, but enemies will certainly become studio heads.
And then there is this: "There are only three kinds of scenes: fights, seductions, and negotiations. Oh, and contradictions. As Elaine used to say, “When in doubt, seduce.”

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