Richard Walter interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Apr 5, 2016 1:19:29 PM

Richard Walter interview with David Alan Binder

About the Expert: Richard Walter is a playwright, screenwriter, author of best-selling fiction and nonfiction, celebrated storytelling educator, associate dean, entertainment industry expert and longtime professor and chairman of the graduate screenwriting program at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. His books include the novels Escape From Film School and Barry and the Persuasions. His non-fiction titles include The Whole Picture: Strategies for Screenwriting Success in the New Hollywood; Screenwriting--The Art, Craft and Business of Film and Television Writing; and most recently Essentials of Screenwriting. His books have been translated into eight languages. Professor Walter is also a court authorized expert in intellectual property litigation. For more information and to order his book visit: Contact Professor Walter at if you would like to subscribe to his monthly screenwriting tips newsletter.

1. Where are you currently living?

Los Angeles.

2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Never expect to be find satisfaction with what you have written. Real writers are editing in their minds long after their books are published and their movies produced.

3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I like to get started writing early in the day. I’m out of bed at the crack of nine-thirty, eat breakfast and read the Los Angeles Time and the New York Times, and I’m hard at work by about 4PM.

4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

Self-publishing has gained new respect that it did not used to have. Me, retro as I am, I’m still having my books published by traditional NY- based gigantic publishers with international reach.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

My first book, a novel, is published by Warner Books. My next novel by St. Martin’s Press. My three screenwriting books all have the same publisher: Random House/Penguin or whatever they’re called these days. They are under the Plume imprint.

5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? Everything’s changed and nothing’s changed. It’s still all about the writing. Does engage or is it boring?

6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Wouldn’t be a ‘secret’ if I gave them away here. Okay, here’s one. Always have your chair aligned north-south, not east-west.

7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

It’s easy to get an agent. What’s hard is to have writing that is worthy of an agent’s attention, consideration, time, and representation. Stop obsessing about the business and concentrate on the art. You need both, but the former is doomed if the latter isn’t in place.

8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Stay open to the surprises that inevitably arise during the writing process. Write an outline, but be ready to abandon it. Rejoice to suffer and to experience frustration, disappointment, and despair, as it only tells you that you are living the life of a writer.

9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

That friends and family could not care less about my writing. The writer alone must care. Anything else is gravy.

10. How many books have you written?

Five published books and perhaps another half dozen not yet published. I’m also a much experienced screenwriter.

11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Quit trying to figure out the business. Never forget that it’s all about stories. Not ideas but stories. Ideas are useless and worthless. What has value is: story.

12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Write your heart out and never expect for twists to come easily.

13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

It’s written by me, in my voice, treating the subjects that I care about.

14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

I retain a publicist, whom I call ‘media manager,’ to handle social media and a lot of other stuff so that I have time for the most important part: writing.

15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would have opposed my first publisher’s decision to release my first novel to the mass market insisted of as a book for the trade, i.e., to be sold in as opposed to drugstores and bus terminals. Of course, back then, unlike today, there were lots of bookstores.

16. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?

“Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

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