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Charlie Kaufman's Quotes

Charlie Kaufman profile photo

Born: 1958-11-01
Profession: Writer
Nation: American
Biography of Charlie Kaufman

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I think if something resonates, even if it's surreal, it's because it is relatable and I think that that's a core issue for me.

Tags: Core, Issue, Surreal

I try to make things interesting and thought-provoking.

Tags: Try

I want to create situations that give people something to think about.

Tags: Create, Give, Situations

I want to try it to see what it's like and see what my stuff looks like when I take it from inception to completion.

Tags: Looks, Stuff, Try

I wanted to deal with someone's idea of their relationship.

Tags: Idea, Someone, Wanted

I was trying to figure out what a memory feels like.

Tags: Feels, Memory, Trying

I'm in my mind a lot. I live there.

Tags: Mind

I'm not into extreme sports or something. I just live a quiet life.

Tags: Life, Quiet, Sports

I'm trying to tell a story and do it truthfully.

Tags: Story, Tell, Trying

I've had to deal, a lot, with my own sense of intimidation at meeting famous people - especially actors, but really any famous people.

Tags: Deal, Famous, Sense

My time on the set is the least of my involvement. Most of my time is in pre-production and post-production.

Tags: Time

Sometimes I don't like the books that I'm reading.

Tags: Books, Reading, Sometimes

There's theater in life, obviously, and there's life in theater.

Tags: Life, Obviously, Theater

As a writer, or as a filmmaker, you have to present yourself, and part of what yourself is is what you're interested in, or what you think is funny, or what you think is sad, or what you think is horrible.

Tags: Funny, Sad, Yourself

There's no way to approach anything in an objective way. We're completely subjective; our view of the world is completely controlled by who we are as human beings, as men or women, by our age, our history, our profession, by the state of the world.

Tags: Age, Men, Women

We try to organize the world, which isn't organized the way our brains want to organize it. We tell stories about the people in our lives, we project ideas onto them. We project relationships with people, we make our lives into stories. I don't think we can avoid doing that.

Tags: Lives, Tell, Try

Before you start production, you have characters you have created without actors in mind, then all of a sudden you've got actors. They bring an enormous amount in creating these characters, and creating the dynamics between the characters that you've written.

Tags: Between, Mind, Start

Directing is a more pragmatic experience, where you have to deal with the restrictions of time and money that force you to make certain decisions you don't have to make when you're writing.

Tags: Experience, Money, Time

I can talk endlessly about characters, or why someone did this or that, and what that dynamic and interaction is. I really love it, and I think that actors really respond positively to the fact that I like to talk about that stuff, because I'm not sure that all directors do.

Tags: Love, Someone, Why

I do have some theatrical background. I've written plays and seen plays and read plays. But I also read novels. One thing I don't read is screenplays.

Tags: Read, Seen, Written

I have a personality that tends to be somewhat compulsive, and I do tend to think in a circular way. I dwell on the same things over and over and I try to figure out different ways of looking at the same issue.

Tags: Looking, Try, Ways

I studied acting at Boston University. I was in the theater department there. Somewhere in there I decided that wasn't what I was going to do and I went to the B.F.A. film program at N.Y.U.

Tags: Acting, Film, Theater

I tend to not only read reviews, but also every little stupid thing online. It's a very bad idea, and there's a lot of angry people in the world. And it's weird to absorb all that weirdness.

Tags: Angry, Bad, Stupid

I think of myself as a guy who tries to write screenplays and now has tried to direct one. Anything more than that is meaningless and it gets in the way of being a real human being.

Tags: Human, Real, Write

I think you just assume that your memory is just sort of a video playback of your experience, but it's nothing like that at all. It's a complete refabrication of an event and a lot of it is made up, because you're filling in spaces.

Tags: Assume, Experience, Memory

I'm interested in trying to explore what I think is the truth at a given time in my life, and part of the process of being honest is - in my mind - talking about the idea that you're watching a movie. You're sitting here watching a movie. And I like that. It appeals to me intellectually, and also in a way I can't even explain.

Tags: Life, Time, Truth
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I'm not a celebrity. I'm intentionally and defiantly not a celebrity. I don't have any interest in it. I don't have any talent for it. I keep my personal life out of my public life as cleanly as I can.

Tags: Keep, Life, Personal

I'm old enough, by a long shot, to remember going to the library and spending days researching. If I was looking for a line from a poem or something else I needed, that would be the trip I would have to take.

Tags: Enough, Old, Remember

I've kind of come to the conclusion that what passes for realism in movies has nothing to do with reality and that my stuff is more realistic than that.

Tags: Movies, Reality, Stuff

If you create something that is asking for people to respond as they're going to respond, you have to allow them to respond as they're going to respond. Some of the people are going to be uninterested and some people are going to be mad for some reason, which is their business. That's just the way the world is.

Tags: Business, Mad, Reason

In a lot of movies, especially big studio ones, they're not constructed in any other way than to get people to like them and then tell their friends. It's a product.

Tags: Big, Friends, Movies

It occurred to me that every work of art is a synecdoche, there's no way around it. Every creative work that someone does can only represent an aspect of the whole of something. I can't think of an exception to that.

Tags: Art, Someone, Work

The only honest and generous thing for me to do is to give people myself. That's all I've got as an artist, so I want to do that in an unflinching way.

Tags: Artist, Give, Honest

The way I write is very much without kind of a goal. I have something I'm interested in and then I decide I'm going to explore it. I don't know where the characters are going to go, I don't know what the movie is going to do or what the screenplay is going to do. For me, that's the way to keep it alive.

Tags: Goal, Keep, Write

There's this inherent screenplay structure that everyone seems to be stuck on, this three-act thing. It doesn't really interest me. To me, it's kind of like saying, 'Well, when you do a painting, you always need to have sky here, the person here and the ground here.' Well, you don't.

Tags: Everyone, Here, Saying

We have the script, we have the actors, and we're trying to figure out what this is, and you don't know what it is. You have to be open to what it's going to become rather than have this thing that you're trying to get to, which is boring.

Tags: Become, Boring, Trying

When I'm writing, I'm trying to immerse myself in the chaos of an emotional experience, rather than separate myself from it and look back at it from a distance with clarity and tell it as a story. Because that's how life is lived, you know?

Tags: Emotional, Experience, Life

Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.

Tags: Constantly, Talking

I think that people have expectations of themselves and other people that are based on these fictions that are presented to them as the way human life and relationships could be, in some sort of weird, ideal world, but they never are. So you're constantly being shown this garbage and you can't get there.

Tags: Human, Life, Themselves

So when I write characters and situations and relationships, I try to sort of utilize what I know about the world, limited as it is, and what I hear from my friends and see with my relatives.

Tags: Friends, Try, Write

I do have, at different times, a certain kind of self-consciousness in the world, an insecurity.

Tags: Insecurity, Times

You are what you love. Not what loves you.

Tags: Love, Loves

I do like escapism. I like going to the movies on a Friday night and seeing something fun.

Tags: Fun, Movies, Night

I hate a movie that will end by telling you that the first thing you should do is learn to love yourself. That is so insulting and condescending, and so meaningless. My characters don't learn to love each other or themselves.

Tags: Hate, Love, Yourself

I don't subscribe to anything. I sit there and I try to think about what seems honest to me.

Tags: Honest, Seems, Try

I don't write genre stuff in any form. I'm not interested in it. I always try to do the opposite of that.

Tags: Stuff, Try, Write

I think generally I'm kind of interested in subjective experience, what goes on inside someone's head, that being all they really know of the world.

Tags: Experience, Head, Someone

As a kid, I had a background in theater.

Tags: Background, Kid, Theater

Everything I've written is personal - it's the only way I know how to write.

Tags: Personal, Write, Written

I actually think I'm probably more interested in structure than most people who write screenplays, because I think about it.

Tags: Actually, Interested, Write

I do throw out a lot of ideas, and I forget completely about them.

Tags: Forget, Ideas, Throw

I don't think screenwriting is therapeutic. It's actually really, really hard for me. It's not an enjoyable process.

Tags: Actually, Hard, Process

I feel like I want to keep moving toward idiosyncracy. Personal, personal, personal.

Tags: Keep, Moving, Personal

I graduated from college in 1980.

Tags: College, Graduated

I have a lot of health anxiety.

Tags: Anxiety, Health

I have a tendency to hire people who tend to be unattractive to the studios. Maybe this is a bad idea.

Tags: Bad, Idea, Maybe

I have ideas written down some places, but usually I can't find them. I'm not very organized.

Tags: Ideas, Places, Written

I like actors - I used to be one.

Tags: Used

I like titles that are a little difficult, because it's kind of counterintuitive.

Tags: Difficult, Titles

I really don't have any solutions and I don't like movies that do.

Tags: Movies, Solutions

I think I've had pretty good experiences for the most part with the people who have directed my screenplays.

Tags: Directed, Good, Pretty

I think if I've worked anything through with screenwriting it's that I'm not going to be able to work anything through.

Tags: Able, Work, Worked
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