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AlecZander
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31 Oct 2005, 9:30 pm

Hey-- :D

I am a film director and screenwriter living in LA, have been for several years. I got diagnosed about six months ago, and I was curious about whether I'd be barred from my passion as a fully-fledged career because my thinking is very literal, and CREATING stories seems to be such an intuitive activity, and one that involves a lot of emotional analysis.

I have trouble because I become over-involved with the structure of the story. :?
I have trouble empathizing with characters as I write them, understanding their emotion. :cry:
I have trouble recognizing 'cool' dialogue, although I supposedly write it at times. 8)

SOOO ... I scoured the Internet to find out what writers/directors were diagnosed or purported to have AS. Here's what I came up with:

1. STEVEN SPIELBERG (Diagnosed supposedly, but hard to pin down where and how)
2. STANLEY KUBRICK (postumously diagnosed, but sure fit the part, and a friend of Spielberg)
3. TIM BURTON (Never diagnosed that I know of, but has many, many indicators)

These were the almost sure bets. Less sure candidates included Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Alfred Hitchcock, and James Cameron.

Does anybody have any more info on any of these guys, whether just behaviors that confim/deny the possibility of AS, how they deal with it, or ANYTHING? (Including your own experiences with creating stories?) I'm very interested to hear, and not just for academic reasons. I am working very hard to adapt my quirkly mode of creation to be able to make top-quality films in a very, very competitive, stressful field. I can use any data you've got! 8O



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31 Oct 2005, 11:12 pm

You're going to find that the biggest problem will come with direction.

In regards to writing though, if you can't be inside the mind of your characters, then really, you need to ask yourself, who's story are you really going to end up telling?

Don't worry about 'cool' dialogue. Like Hitchcock said, write the script. Then go back and insert the dialogue.

Alot of the directors are on lists of after-the-fact diagnoses, so I am not sure how reliable they are. Stanley Kubrick is the most logical choice to me though and I have often had comments on how my own personal style is quite similar to his. Kubrick didn't deal with his perfectionism because he didn't see it as a problem, and neither do I really. I mean, if you're going to make something, make it your way.

Just on a personal note, what films have you made (as writer or director) and can you tell me a bit more about what it's like in LA to work in film (I live in Australia). I have a few friends over there now though. Maybe PM if its personal stuff. Look forward to hearing from you.



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31 Oct 2005, 11:33 pm

I saw Tarantino on a talk show recently and realized how odd his behavior really was compared to most guests.

I have considered trying to write novels, but I find the task of creating characters and all quite daunting.


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01 Nov 2005, 9:09 am

This may sound like annoying advice, but if you don't think you have the creativity to write a good plot with what you want in it, why not ask someone for help? If you want help from us at WP, you can start a thread with questions and ask for suggestions. If you want to work with a small group of people writing the script, I would put together a few people who you trust and are creative like that. Lay out a general plot line for the script (where it starts, main events, where it ends up) and ask them to help you fill it in more.

Coming from an author's standpoint, I usually start with my characters acting a lot like people (either individual or combinations of people) who I know. Then, I take traits that I see in other characters (usually one or two) and insert them into my existing characters. Over time, they'll eventually evolve into people you might meet in real life, which is what I'm aiming at. A lot of the experiences I write about my characters having are inspired by my own experiences. I don't know how much this helps you, but I hope you're able to take something from it. :)

Alec, it seems a bit odd to me (being a LotR-fan) that Peter Jackson is an aspie or has some aspie qualities. I've seen almost all of the extra stuff on the discs and listened to quite a bit of the commentary (that should show you how much of a life I have...), and that would seem a bit odd. On the other hand, what I've heard about Steven Spielberg seems reasonable.


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01 Nov 2005, 11:01 am

Nothing annoying about that advice, it's quite good. You hit the key concept about storytelling. Character development. That's what we want to experience.



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01 Nov 2005, 7:34 pm

Ho Hum...

It's me, Alec. I changed my User name to one I liked better ...

Thanks for the info.

Quote:
Just on a personal note, what films have you made (as writer or director) and can you tell me a bit more about what it's like in LA to work in film (I live in Australia). I have a few friends over there now though. Maybe PM if its personal stuff. Look forward to hearing from you.


I've written four short films (produced), directed two short films (which I also wrote and got produced), and I've written five completed feature screenplays. However, the only one I felt was good enough to put out on the market was my latest. It got some interest from a few producers, but it never ended up getting made. (I didn't push all that hard, because I got sick with some AS related stuff about that time...) I've learned a lot in the last year since I wrote it, so I'm now working on a rewrite. I expect to finish it soon. The plan is to direct it myself.

As for working on film in LA, it's a learning experience. :lol: There's a whole lotta bulls***, and one has to learn to filter people, find out what they have inside. That's been hard as an Aspie. It's a great town in someways. Mostly, you have to keep focused. That's were being an Aspie has been really helpful. A lot of guys just can't keep focused because of all the pretty girls, clubs, and social events they feel compelled to experience--and then they never actually complete any work. I don't have that problem. :?


Quote:
This may sound like annoying advice, but if you don't think you have the creativity to write a good plot with what you want in it, why not ask someone for help? If you want help from us at WP, you can start a thread with questions and ask for suggestions. If you want to work with a small group of people writing the script, I would put together a few people who you trust and are creative like that. Lay out a general plot line for the script (where it starts, main events, where it ends up) and ask them to help you fill it in more.


Thanks, Namiko. That's very good of you to offer. :D Actually, my problem isn't a lack of creativity. It's more like HANDLING the creativity.

As you see above, I've been working for several years and know screenwriting like the palm of my hand. I've got so many ideas that it would take me 20 years to write them all. No, the problem comes in the METHOD. See, screenwriting is so tightly structured and rigorous that one has to usually work for at least 3-4 months on a step outline before one even begins to write a treatment, which then leads to the script you actually show to people. My problem--and this seems to be connected to my AS--is that I can see so many details in a story so fast that I have a hard time organizing it all, and then understanding the emotions behind what I see instantly to be true. I've worked out my own system using as a basis the system developed by the screenwriting teacher Robert McKee. But I was curious about how the greats with my disability (or maybe abilty) handled the flow of ideas.

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Alec, it seems a bit odd to me (being a LotR-fan) that Peter Jackson is an aspie or has some aspie qualities. I've seen almost all of the extra stuff on the discs and listened to quite a bit of the commentary (that should show you how much of a life I have...), and that would seem a bit odd. On the other hand, what I've heard about Steven Spielberg seems reasonable.


I saw the LotR extra features, too. I also saw him at the academy awards when he accepted his statue. He struck me as very ill at ease, to have no sense of grooming (even at an event being watched by a billion people), to be fixated, and a raging genius in his one particular area. Also, I've done some research into his earlier life. I thought I saw some indicators. Could be wrong.

As for Spielberg, he is the most certain. He goes to a doctor over in the same building where my mom goes, and someone there told her that he has AS and goes in for meds, etc. Also, Spielberg was slated to direct MOZART AND THE WHALE, the new feature Starring Josh Hartnett, about two people with AS. AND... he was supposed to direct RAINMAN. He had to pull out of both at the last minute because of scheduling conflicts, but the guy has an agenda of making autism-related films. There's no doubt about it.

Quote:
I saw Tarantino on a talk show recently and realized how odd his behavior really was compared to most guests.


Yeah, Spacemonkey, I saw the same thing. The guy's got an IQ up around 160 but dropped out of high school and worked at a video store, and he lectures obsessively about film every chance he gets and tends to be generally kookie, and he just has really strange gestures and ways of speaking, ones that look familiar.... I don't want to label him if I'm wrong, but I'm just saying I have some strong suspicions, and I'd love to get more info ...

Man, what a long post! I've got to take a rest. 8O



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01 Nov 2005, 7:35 pm

dan ackroyd from saturdy night live


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02 Nov 2005, 1:19 am

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dan ackroyd from saturdy night live


This is interesting. Do you have a theory that he has AS, or has he been diagnosed?

This gets to one of the reasons I started this thread: There seem to be as many as half a dozen directors who either have AS or might have it. But I've never heard of even one well-known actor or screenwriter who has AS. I find it very peculiar. :?



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02 Nov 2005, 9:20 am

GroovyDruid wrote:
Quote:
This may sound like annoying advice, but if you don't think you have the creativity to write a good plot with what you want in it, why not ask someone for help? If you want help from us at WP, you can start a thread with questions and ask for suggestions. If you want to work with a small group of people writing the script, I would put together a few people who you trust and are creative like that. Lay out a general plot line for the script (where it starts, main events, where it ends up) and ask them to help you fill it in more.


Thanks, Namiko. That's very good of you to offer. :D Actually, my problem isn't a lack of creativity. It's more like HANDLING the creativity.


If you don't mind working with someone else, work with someone who is very disciplined, open to ideas, but a little on the un-creative side themselves. I've always tried to work with people who have a high priority getting the job done quickly in group projects, rather than other creative people like myself. If you don't want to work with other people (and I can understand why ;)), I would then tell you do be very disciplined. Try working on the actual writing of the script for a set amount of time each day, not necessarily when you have another brilliant idea. If you have a brilliant idea during a time other than your set time, write it down on a different notepad (or somewhere else). Then, when it's writing time, go back over your notes and see if you can work your ideas into the storyline without taking it too off-track.


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02 Nov 2005, 10:53 am

GroovyDruid wrote:
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dan ackroyd from saturdy night live


This gets to one of the reasons I started this thread: There seem to be as many as half a dozen directors who either have AS or might have it. But I've never heard of even one well-known actor or screenwriter who has AS. I find it very peculiar. :?


I believe Keanu Reeves has been diagnosed.
He is interesting to watch on talk shows as well.
Doesn't like to give much information about his personal life.


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02 Nov 2005, 12:42 pm

Quote:
you don't want to work with other people (and I can understand why ), I would then tell you do be very disciplined. Try working on the actual writing of the script for a set amount of time each day, not necessarily when you have another brilliant idea. If you have a brilliant idea during a time other than your set time, write it down on a different notepad (or somewhere else). Then, when it's writing time, go back over your notes and see if you can work your ideas into the storyline without taking it too off-track.


I've tried working with a couple of other cowriters, but one of the things I realized pretty quick was that my method of writing was much more rigorous than theirs, and had to be.

That's good advice about scheduling writing. I actuall do write every day, for about an hour three times a day. It works very well.


Quote:
I believe Keanu Reeves has been diagnosed.
He is interesting to watch on talk shows as well.
Doesn't like to give much information about his personal life.


Reahhehehly ... :) That makes sense now that you mention it. I've seen him on shows.

I did some looking around on the net, and I couldn't find anything more reliable than widespread speculation to support that he's got AS. Where did you get your info, do you remember? It would be cool to check it out, find out how well supported it is...



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02 Nov 2005, 2:44 pm

GroovyDruid wrote:
This gets to one of the reasons I started this thread: There seem to be as many as half a dozen directors who either have AS or might have it. But I've never heard of even one well-known actor or screenwriter who has AS. I find it very peculiar. :?

Charlie Kaufman seems like an aspie type.



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02 Nov 2005, 2:51 pm

GroovyDruid wrote:
Quote:
dan ackroyd from saturdy night live


This is interesting. Do you have a theory that he has AS, or has he been diagnosed?

This gets to one of the reasons I started this thread: There seem to be as many as half a dozen directors who either have AS or might have it. But I've never heard of even one well-known actor or screenwriter who has AS. I find it very peculiar. :?


I'm 100% sure that Ackroyd has AS. He said so himself on the radio.


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02 Nov 2005, 11:00 pm

spacemonkey wrote:
GroovyDruid wrote:
Quote:
dan ackroyd from saturdy night live


This gets to one of the reasons I started this thread: There seem to be as many as half a dozen directors who either have AS or might have it. But I've never heard of even one well-known actor or screenwriter who has AS. I find it very peculiar. :?


I believe Keanu Reeves has been diagnosed.
He is interesting to watch on talk shows as well.
Doesn't like to give much information about his personal life.


That would be something to look into. I was reading somewhere, and I believe it said (if I remember correctly) that he dropped out of high school or something like that.


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02 Nov 2005, 11:27 pm

Quote:
I'm 100% sure that Ackroyd has AS. He said so himself on the radio.


Very cool. :D I've always liked his work. Now I've got another reason why!

Quote:
That would be something to look into. I was reading somewhere, and I believe it said (if I remember correctly) that he [Keanu Reeves] dropped out of high school or something like that.


Yeah. That's what I read, too. He had a rough time in school, and yet he is a very good actor. People make fun of actors--and particularly him--for being dumb rich people, but that's a gross oversimplification. They more often than not are really nuts in certain aspects of their lives, but that doesn't mean they're not smart. you've got to be a sharp dart to take apart a feature screenplay and parse the motivations, remember loads of lines, and maneuver yourself to success in an insane industry.

By the way, I was zooming around, and I found another likely director to add to the list of possible AS: WOODY ALLEN.