Edgar Wright is a British filmmaker renowned for his unique blend of humor, style, and genre-bending storytelling. Best known for the Cornetto Trilogy, Baby Driver, and Last Night in Soho.
With each project, he continues to push the boundaries of filmmaking, maintaining his status as one of the most innovative filmmakers of his generation.
Here are a few things writers-directors can learn from Edgar Wright…
Let the dialogue dictate the plot. “I feel the point where it becomes a screenplay is when the story can only be told by dialogue, because there’s story in terms of plot, but even when Simon [Pegg] and I used to write, there’s a certain point where the lines dictate the plot. It’s how something hinges on something else. Dialogue makes the screenplay write itself.”
Know when is time to cut off scenes that no longer serve you. “The edit is the final draft. There was one particular scene in Soho that, on paper, was really well written, but when we shot it, I think the actors did a great job, but in the screening, it was clear that we didn’t need the scene. I felt like we had been nudged a little from notes to expand something we didn’t need to expand. When we showed it to an audience, that’s what they thought as well.”
Don’t overwrite. “With things I had written before, you see how over-written they are. It’s like you’re trying to sell people on the idea that you’re a writer, rather than writing a good screenplay.”
Make the story easy to visualize. “Most screenwriting books focus on dialogue, but as a director and writer, I’m trying to tell the story visually.”
Study your favorite films. “Read screenplays. Watch movies and break them down. Me and Simon would watch classic films and break them down. Not cynical, but more to understand how things work and how many durations there are in every sense. Take a favorite film and dismantle it.”
Bonus: Here’s a video we created on The Edgar Wright Effect | How the First Five Pages Can Make or Break Your Screenplay: