Literary Birthday – 23 November – Robert Towne


Happy Birthday, Robert Towne, born 23 November 1934

Seven Quotes

  1. Good dialogue illuminates what people are not saying.
  2. What makes screenplays difficult are the things that require the most discipline and care and are just not seen by most people. I’m talking about movement – screenwriting is related to math and music, and if you zig here, you know you have to zag there. It’s like the descriptions for a piece of music – you go fast or slow or with feeling. It’s the same.
  3. I’m not in business to be loved, but I am in business.
  4. If you have a good ear for dialogue, you just can’t help thinking about the way people talk. You’re drawn to it. And the obsessive interest in it forces you to develop it. You almost can’t help yourself.
  5. One of the reasons for going back into the past is that it’s almost the only place that there’s any drama.
  6. In dramatic writing, the very essence is character change. The character at the end is not the same as he was at the beginning. He’s changed-psychologically, maybe even physically.
  7. It made me alive to the fact that the most important thing sometimes is what isn’t said – to prepare for moments of revelation that can be read entirely on actors’ faces without dialogue.

Robert Towne is an American screenwriter, producer, director and actor. He is best-known for his Academy Award-winning original screenplay for Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. He also wrote, The Two Jakes, Shampoo, and the first two Mission: Impossible films.

Source for image

 by Amanda Patterson