15 September, 2008

Video Interview: Neil Simon

Go Into The Story:

One of the most astounding stories I remember reading was about The Odd Couple. The basic concept was something his brother Danny came up with, recounted here in an obituary about Danny who died in 2005:
After struggling over the first 14 pages of The Odd Couple, he [Danny] gave it to Neil, saying, "You know how to write plays. I don't. You write it instead." He had conceived the idea - about two, very different divorced male friends trying to live together - while getting his own divorce in 1961 and sharing a flat with a Hollywood agent who was sloppy and a poor dresser. One night, a pot roast they prepared was spoiled, and their ensuing wisecracks inspired the basic humorous conflict of the play. Danny told Neil, who loved the concept and frequently inquired about his progress, before writing it himself.
The remarkable thing to me, when I read this story, is that Neil took that concept and started writing: no brainstorming, no 3x5 index cards, no outlines. He just wrote the story. And so I've always use Neil Simon as one extreme of how to approach writing -- sans preparation.

With that as a hook, I encourage you to spend a full half-hour with a true master of storytelling -- Neil Simon.

Article in full

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