Having read ‘The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood” by Joe Eszterhas [Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, Betrayed, Flashdance], I posed this question to writers a while back, and got some interesting and varied comments. Some agreed, some didn’t.
Joe’s advice is to see good movies, but not too many movies. He writes that knowing too much about movies can clutter up your brain, and can be hazardous to your creativity.
“It’s okay to see movies, but it’s not okay to get caught up in movie trivia if you want to write good screenplays – that is, to become a film geek…”
He also writes that you should keep your writing to yourself, and not to expend the energy you’ll need to write by talking your story instead..
“I’ve come to the conclusion that your characters get angry at you if you speak about them…and stop you from giving birth to them on the page in revenge.”
“Put that energy into learning about real life and the loves, hopes, aspirations, guilts, failures and dreams of the human beings around you.”
Can’t argue with that last sentiment…any thoughts on the rest of it?
Interestingly, check out this piece written by Vasco Phillip de Sousa: Do script gurus hold the secret to making great screenplays: http://ptara.com/2013/10/31/do-script-gurus-hold-the-secret-to-making-great-screenplays/