Monday, July 30, 2007 07/30/07-Star Wars Work

In today's excerpt--the hard work involved in creating new things. George Lucas, at a time when the success of American Graffitti is just becoming apparent, is hard at work on the script for Star Wars:

"Lucas did not hire a writer to work on Star Wars, despite his myriad preoccupations. It hadn't worked before, on THX and Graffitti, so there was no reason to try again. Instead, every day he'd walk up the stairs to his writing room at Medway--'it's like a little tower'--and plug away on the desk he'd built from three doors. 'I grew up in a middle-class Midwestern-style American town with the corresponding work ethic,' Lucas explains. 'So I sit at my desk for eight hours a day no matter what happens, even if I don't write anything. It's a terrible way to live. but I do it; I sit down and I do it. I can't get out of my chair until five o'clock or five thirty or whenever the news comes on. It's like being in school. It's the only way I can force myself to write.'

" 'I work with a hard pencil and regular lined paper,' he adds. 'I put a big calendar on my wall. Tuesday I have to be on page twenty-five, Wednesday on page thirty, and so on. And every day I 'X' it off--I did those five pages. And if I do my five pages early, I get to quit. Never happens. I've always got about one page done by four o'clock in the afternoon, and during that next hour I usually write the rest. Sometimes I'll get up early and write a lot of pages, but that doesn't really happen much.'

"Like most writers, even when not at his desk, Lucas was working. 'A writer is, every waking hour, constantly pondering scenes or structural problems. I carry my little notebook around and I can always sit down and write. That's the terrible part, because you can't get away from it. I'll lie in bed before I go to sleep, just thinking--or I'll wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, thinking of things, and I'll come up with ideas and I'll write them down. Even when I'm driving, I come up with ideas. I come up with a lot of ideas when I'm taking a shower in the morning.' "

J.W. Rinzler, The Making of Star Wars, Ballantine Books, Copyright 2007 by Lucasfilm, Ltd, pp. 14-15.


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