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Werner Herzog Never Spends More Than a Week Writing a Screenplay

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Try to think of a director and personality more interesting than Werner Herzog and you might come up short. The German-born Herzog, perhaps best known for his movie Grizzly Man, recently gave an interview to the Washington City Paper. While the whole discussion is worth a read, one part especially stood out to us — how quickly he works.

When the Paper asked him how he arrives at his subjects for his documentaries, he answered, “Films stumble into me, and they arrive uninvited, like burglars in the night. I will finish one film in a few weeks and another a few weeks after that. While we’re sitting here, I feel like I have five or six other films that are coming right at me.”

Herzog went on to explain, “There are some films I can see so clearly that it’s as if I’m watching it in a theater. This is why I can write a screenplay so fast. I never spend more than a week writing a screenplay.” A week? Not bad — I mean, it took us only 15 minutes to write the blog for our video today.

Herzog explained that the pace at which young filmmakers work bums him out. “I see young filmmakers who come at me exuberantly, saying something like, ‘I shot 650 hours of footage and have been editing for a year and half!’ This makes my heart sink, because the market itself does not allow this kind of time and energy.”

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