"You can't be what everybody else wants you to be. Do what makes you happy." - Tiffany Limos 3/31/09

"Acting is easy, writing is hard!" - Marlon Brando

"I am filled with love and affection." - Tiffany Limos 3/22/10

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How they write a script -- Diablo Cody

Monday, June 30, 2008

If there's a modern day 'talisman' for anybody who dreams of breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter, that would have to be Diablo Cody who's gone from stripper-phone sex operator-blogger to Academy Award winning screenwriter in a head-spinning whirl, all because of a spec script she wrote, a little thing called Juno (2007). She has parlayed her success into several projects including the movie Jennifer's Body, which is to be released in 2009, and a TV series for Showtime called The United States of Tara, a comedy about a woman struggling "to find a balance between her dissociative identity disorder and raising a dysfunctional family."

Culled from several interviews, here are some of Diablo's thoughts about screenwriting, and how she managed to create the magic of Juno.

"I’ve always written for my own edification and for fun but I have this fear of rejection so I spent my entire life being a writer who didn’t get published. For that reason, I’ve never received a rejection letter in my life because that terror would just grip me. I didn’t even write for the school paper. So, when the internet publishing revolution came about it was perfect for me, I could write every day, put it out there and not have to worry about an editor telling me I wasn’t good enough. It was very freeing. I started blogging every day and when I started blogging about stripping and the sex industry, suddenly surprise surprise I got a huge audience! For some reason people on the internet are interested in sex – who knew that?! My blog traffic went through the roof and one day I got an email from this guy who said he was a big fan of my blog and he was also a producer in Hollywood and he said I think you should try writing a movie. The odds of writing a screenplay and having it produced are daunting as it’s a very competitive field and as I’ve said, competition doesn’t appeal to me, nor does rejection. I’m very unambitious and I want to live in a bubble! So I said no but he hounded me for a bit and I just said ‘whatever’, because I had free time on my hands. I hit upon the idea for Juno. It didn’t take me very long. I don’t think writing movies is hard – when I hear people have spent years nursing a single script I can’t imagine what their day looks like! I wrote it and Mason (Novick) the producer said ‘Right - let’s take it out there and see what people think’. It was received very warmly from the beginning and we were very surprised and we continue to be surprised every day. It’s been a very crazy situation."


"Jason Reitman and I have both this fascination with writing about sort of controversial topics and poking fun at them. We both like to do that and we have similar politics the more I get to know him. But the idea for Juno was really a random spontaneous thing. I guess I’m inspired by awkward situations. I love awkward silences, I love forced politeness. To me, there is hilarity to be found in that.

"I was kinda sitting in my kitchen in Robbinsdale, and thinking about the image of a teenage girl sitting across from these uptight yuppies in their living room. They’re basically auditioning to be the parents of her unborn child. And I was like, that’s possibly the most awkward thing I could imagine, and it is therefore hilarious. And I wound up building the film around that image. And then I just based the character of Juno on myself as a teenager, although I was never that cool."


"I didn’t really look at it as teen-speak but more like weirdo language! Ellen Page just presents it in such a saucy way too and I’m kind of immature myself and although this sounds kind of cheesy, being on the internet a lot, as I am, I’m actually obsessed with it to the point I’m undergoing hypnosis to cure my internet addiction – I’ll spend 19 hours a day on the internet if you let me. Because of that, you get immersed in the youth vernacular. Every week I learn some new word the kids are saying and I try to integrate it into my vocabulary like some pathetic old person!"


"Everybody knows that I’m not a snob when it comes to pop culture, obviously. I love reality shows. I will go see crappy movies, happily. I’m not an especially highbrow person, but I have always loved small, quirky, edgy movies. To use a string of obnoxious adjectives. And you know, like I loved Harold and Maude, I loved Rushmore. I saw Napoleon Dynamite for the first time while I was in the process of writing Juno. And it kind of renewed my vigor for writing. Because I thought like, this is a total oddball little movie and yet all these people have responded to it so maybe my script isn’t going to get lost in the shuffle. That was inspirational to me. Even though I think [director, Jason] Reitman has tired of the Napoleon Dynamite comparisons, they’re somewhat warranted. Movies that are smart and meaningful as opposed to a big corny ass movie where a pretty girl falls down."


"It frees me creatively; it’s made me a more outgoing person. It’s made me unafraid to squelch certain tendencies I used to be ashamed of. Now I kind of celebrate my weirdness a little more. Which anybody can do in Los Angeles. I was a dark person. There have been times in the past where I thought about ending my life. And I guess, at the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, it’s just life affirming. I feel like I did something that made a difference. And I want to continue to do that. And I certainly never thought that would happen."