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Charlie Kaufman: Writer’s Wednesday pt. 3

Written by Dalena

Charlie Kaufman is an award-winning screenwriter best known for his screenplays Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Adaptation. (2002), and Being John Malkovich (1999).

With my aspiration of becoming a screenwriter comes the inherited quest of reading tons and tons of screenplays to understand the way other writers have went through the process of portraying a story under cinematic parameters. Reading all of these different screenplays, re-watching the movies, and letting some of these writers take you under their wing, you will discover some of the most creative and intelligently written screenplays but, even more rare, encounter a consistently talented screenwriter.

Charlie Kaufman is just that kind of screenwriter. His stories are eccentric and imaginative enough that the stories themselves seem to develop a character that becomes somewhat of a signature for Kaufman. Where else are you going to hear a story about a puppeteer who goes through the motions of a mundane marriage and works a job that is literally back-breaking only to discover a door that leads into the mind of actor John Malkovich?  Or a story about Kaufman, self-reflexively, writing a screenplay about struggling to writing a screenplay for an adaptation of “The Orchid Thief”?

Wikipedia showing Kaufman being a mothafukin boss

Kaufman’s stories aren’t just told by the plot, but the way each character behaves in the unique environment Kaufman creates. The potently broken characters struggle to find stability and, in that way, reveal truths to the human condition. He challenges the conventions of story-telling by asking himself to see different perspectives of a story and he doesn’t necessarily force a character to be sympathized with, but the cards are just dealt that way.

He’s not only a great writer, but just a very intelligent and humble person. To let you in on to why I think so, I listened to Kaufman lecture during the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Screenwriters’ Lecture Series. The lecture is personal and offers drops of insight in his experience with writing and reveals how genuine this guy is.

If you are interested in viewing the movies he’s written for,  Adaptation.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Being John Malkovich  can all be streamed online on Netflix.

As for the screenplays, you can find Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindBeing John MalkovichHuman Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Synedoche, New York on IMSDB.