Guillermo Arriaga Masterclass – Festival Films by The Sea

Here are the highlights from the Guillermo Arriaga masterclass in Vlissingen, Netherlands on Sep12th 2022.

*His main focus while writing is a key word to build the story around. For example for Amores Perros was it Love he says. Each dialogue or scene must stick to that main theme love.
– Likewise a main subject – again for Amores Perros was it accident. All the story rounded about what happened before/during/after the accident.

*We know he likes non-linear storytelling. He explains why: “I never write a linear story first and then cut it to non-linear. I just write whatever comes into my head as they are and cut wherever it stops. Then I start again when I again have the inspiration, then stop. Every little story comes its own way and I don’t interfere them. After all nothing in life is linear by nature, we always jump from a timeline to the other.”

*He sent his best regard to Syd Field and Joseph Campbell and he confess he utilizes their methods when his script needs a form. Yet he believes the storytelling is something beyond these forms and 3 act rules, especially in the creative phase of the scriptwriting.

*He says he’s very strict when it comes to his dialogues. He wants the actors/actresses stick to them precisely as they’re written, word by word; no matter how good an actor/actress is at improvising, that is even mentioned in the contracts! As well even if it’s not the way how something is expressed in that language / region. He sees it as the best way to preserve the meaning. He says he’s writing his scripts in his own language, Spanish, and have them translated.

*Although his stories seem to follow the Catholic story structures, he strictly denies it explaining that he grew up in a complete atheist family, school and surrounding. He only appreciates the resemblance and and again emphasizes his stories have nothing to do with the religion.

*He emphasized many times that it’s very important to know about the pain; not to choose lamenting over it, but to let it drive you for something good, to learn from the pain. And he says it plays a big role in his screenwriting. He is a hunter and finds it important to know about how would it feel to kill an animal, as an alive being.

Nil Birinci

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