How does Christopher Nolan write? That question is answered by The New Yorker in a really interesting profile about the director.
The article goes over the process for writing, revising and editing his scripts and also discusses some of his writing habits.
Here’s an excerpt from the article that caught our eye: “Nolan makes copious notes on index cards, which he keeps in labeled boxes. ‘I like to put them in order,’ he said, holding up a box of cards with different-colored markings.”
“Sometimes they go into one box, sometimes into two or three. It’s like a game of Tetris—you’re constantly trying to figure out what fits where.”
He is also adamant about not using computers when he writes—he writes longhand, on yellow legal pads—a practice that has been known to delay production on his movies by months.
Christopher Nolan’s Writing Process
Who Is christopher nolan?
Who Is christopher nolan? Christopher Nolan is a legendary film director, screenwriter, producer and editor. He is best known for directing such hits as The Dark Knight and Inception.
Description:Christopher Jonathan James Nolan was born in London, England on July 30, 1970. His American parents worked in the film industry where his mother was a casting director and his father was a print salesman.
Description:Nolan attended University College London where he received degrees in English Literature and Philosophy before moving to the United States to attend filmmaking school at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Description:After he completed his studies, Nolan began working for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures as a production assistant and later moved up the ladder to become a reader and script supervisor. He also spent time as an editor and writer for television shows such as “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “ER” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Description:In 1998, Nolan released his first film Following which he wrote, directed and produced Memento (2000) which helped establish him as an influential filmmaker in Hollywood. His next project saw him producing Insomnia (2002) with Al Pacino in the lead role which led him to direct Batman Begins (2005).
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How Does Christopher Nolan Write?
The “Dark Knight” script took him more than a year to complete. It was inspired, he said, by the 1971 film “Dirty Harry.”
According to Nathan Crowley, his production designer on that film and on “Inception”: “There are actually some shots where you can see the influence.”
The first step in composing a script is for Nolan to work out the bare-bones structure—Christopher Nolan is one of the most successful and popular filmmakers of the 21st century.
He has directed blockbusters such as Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar, and Dunkirk.
Towards the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, Nolan released his latest film, Dunkirk. It was a massive critical success, earning Nolan his third Academy Award nomination for Best Director as well as eight other nominations (making it his second-most nominated work behind 2014’s Interstellar).
This article will attempt to dissect how Christopher Nolan writes. I’ll be looking at two specific works: Following (1998) and Dunkirk (2017), the former being Nolan’s first feature-length film and the latter being his most recent. But we’ll look at his body of work in all its breadth and scope, too.
This article will focus on three key areas: style, structure, and storytelling technique.
How Long Does Christopher Nolan Take To Write?
When it comes to the movies, there are few directors better than Christopher Nolan.
He’s considered part of the new wave of young filmmakers that includes such talents as David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky who have been creating some of the most memorable films in recent years.
It’s hard to believe that it was just over a decade ago that Nolan burst into the big leagues with the release of his black-and-white thriller Memento, which won him rave reviews and a considerable amount of critical acclaim.
He followed that up with his first commercially successful film Insomnia, and then 3 years later he hit pay dirt again with The Dark Knight, which is one of the best Batman movies ever made (it’s better than Batman Begins, for sure).
So, how long does Christopher Nolan take to write? Well you can’t really say because he’s a very different kind of filmmaker who doesn’t follow the rules.
He doesn’t do an outline first and certainly doesn’t stick to a strict schedule when it comes to writing scripts.
He said this about his writing process in an interview: “I work on many scripts at once a while. Very, very long while.
Nolan has a reputation for being meticulous, and this is one reason why. He’s a perfectionist and doesn’t like to release films he’s not happy with, so he spends years perfecting his films’ scripts in the writing process, before they go into production.
Trevor Nunn (who directed HBO’s recent “Einstein and Eddington” starring Eddie Izzard) tells The Guardian that Nolan takes an excruciatingly long time to write his screenplays: “He takes an awful lot of time,” says the director Trevor Nunn, who worked with Nolan on The Prestige and Inception . “I’ve heard he takes two or three years just to write the screenplay.
I was surprised at how long it took him to write Inception , but then I saw the film and realised why it had taken so long.
Hence why all of Nolan’s films have been released since Insomnia in 2002 have been huge hits at the box office, with The Dark Knight and Inception both breaking multiple records.
But while they’re huge hits in terms of popularity, they’re also critical successes – all but Batman Begins have Rotten Tomatoes ratings above 90% (The Dark Knight Rises is currently
How Do I Write A Script Like Christopher Nolan?
Many people want to learn how to write a script like Christopher Nolan. Unfortunately, there is no formula for writing a script.
There are many theories and ideas that can help you with your own story but they will never work for everyone. Everyone has his or her own style and imagination.
The best way to learn how to write a script like Christopher Nolan is to write your own script. Trying to imitate someone else’s style will not get you far in writing, but trying new things can help you improve and make the process easier for you.
So, what do you need to do? You have to read a lot of scripts and see how other writers tell their stories. This is the best way for beginners to understand how it’s done.
Don’t focus on one particular writer or try to write like him or her, just study his or her work so that you can learn from it. You should compare Nolan’s work with other writers’ works as well.
You should also look at movies that are similar to the type of film you want to make and see if they have anything in common with each other.
For example, if you want to make a movie about an alien invasion, then check out the Alien franchise scripts because they might be able to give you If you’ve ever wondered how to write a script like Christopher Nolan, then I’m going to show you how.
List of Resources: Master Screenplay Structure (Bryan Hill) Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (David Trottier) The Anatomy of Story (John Truby) Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting (Robert McKee) Story Engineering (Larry Brooks) Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need (Blake Snyder) The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers (Christopher Vogler)
What Did Christopher Nolan Write?
Christopher Nolan is an English filmmaker best known for writing and directing the films Memento, The Prestige, and Inception. He is also known for his use of experimental story structure in his movies.
Nolan was born in London, United Kingdom on July 30th 1970 to a successful advertising executive and a former actress. While growing up he developed a love for the works of Steven Spielberg and Carl Jung.
After graduating from high school he enrolled at University College London to study English Literature. Although he was initially interested in becoming a comic book artist, he eventually decided to pursue filmmaking instead.
Christopher Nolan is one of the most popular directors in Hollywood. He has directed several critically acclaimed movies, including Memento and Inception.
His movies have grossed over $4.9 billion worldwide and have a rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Trying to know what did Christopher Nolan write?
Let us walk you through his extraordinary journey from being a writer to being an A-list Hollywood director: Aspiring Screenwriter Christopher Jonathan James Nolan was born in London, England on July 30, 1970.
As a child, he loved reading short stories. When he was eight years old, he started making his own comics and writing stories with his brother and father.
What is a Christopher Nolan script? Christopher Nolan has written the screenplays for most of his movies.
What are they like? Over the years, Nolan has gotten quite particular about how his scripts are formatted.
He uses a two-column format with all dialogue in Times New Roman at 12pt and all description in Courier New at 10pt. He also refuses to have any margins on the left side of the page , and uses a standard 1.5″ top margin, 1″ bottom margin, and 1″ left and right side margins.
This isn’t exclusive to Nolan — many screenwriters will write out their scripts this way. But it’s still interesting to see what features are common among writers who use this format.
In 2011, I analyzed close to 200 scripts written by various writers of different experience levels using this format (most of them were written by first-time screenwriters).
How Nolan Works With Time
It’s the end of the year, and we’re all looking back at 2017. I thought it would be fun to take you on a walk down memory lane with Nolan and share a few of the highlights from his year!
Towards the end of 2016, Nolan decided to start walking once he heard that he could earn “laps” for being active.
He earned over 100 laps in just a few months! In fact, Nolan walked over 1.5 miles every single day! In April, Nolan had a special visitor!
The Easter Bunny came by to visit him and brought him some yummy treats and a new toy. In May, he got a new picture taken for his birthday.
It was so much fun to see him wearing his birthday hat for the first time! In June, Nolan had another birthday – this time he was one!
We celebrated with an outdoor family party with all of our friends. We had lots of fun and Nolan loved playing outside with his friends.
In July, Nolan’s grandma came to visit us for a week and we took him to the beach for the first time ever!
He loved playing in the sand, but got really hot when it started to get dark outside. He didn’t want to take off his The first step in making a Nolan is to choose your word or words.
You can use a single word, a sentence, a quote, you get the idea. It can be anything you want it to be!The next step is choosing your colors.
This can be done by using the color picker on the right side of the screen. Each word will have its own section and there are thousands of colors to choose from.
The next step is selecting your font style and size. I always stick with Times New Roman because it’s easy to read, but that’s just my opinion!
After that, you will select where you would like your text to appear on the watch face and how many lines you want.
If you want a line at the bottom of the watch face for example, you can add it and drag it wherever you want it to land. When your design is complete, click “Design It” and then move onto the checkout process!
Christopher Nolan Script Writing
Christopher Jonathan James Nolan is an English writer-director-producer, who has made an enormous impact on the film industry in Hollywood. He is popularly known as one of the best writers and directors in contemporary cinema.
Nolan, who was born on the 30th of July, 1970, in London, England has been active in filmmaking since 1997. He started his career as a screenwriter and later moved to direction.
By 2004, he had already written and directed three feature films that earned him worldwide critical acclaim and recognition. His movies have also won numerous awards including various nominations for best picture Academy Awards and British Academy Film Awards.
Nolan’s major works include Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Interstellar (2014) and Dunkirk (2017).
He is currently working on a project about the early years of Batman for Warner Bros.Pictures. This will be the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe.
It is scheduled to release on June 25, 2021.
Christopher Jonathan James Nolan is a British-American film director, screenwriter and producer. He is one of the highest-grossing directors in history.
Nolan came to international attention with his second feature Memento (2000), for which he received acclaim and won several awards, including the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director.
The critically acclaimed neo-noir psychological thriller The Prestige (2006) garnered further acclaim and appeared on many critics’ lists of the best films of 2006.
The Dark Knight (2008) became the most successful film of his career, earning over $1 billion worldwide and becoming the fourth-highest grossing film of all time.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012), saw Nolan collaborate on the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, and was released on 20 July 2012.
Nolan has been nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay for Memento, Best Picture for The Dark Knight, Best Director for Inception and 2014’s Best Picture winner: Interstellar. He is currently working on an upcoming 4K restoration of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Christopher Nolan Writing Process
The Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion of a trilogy that has already taken in more than $1 billion at the box office.
So what was it like working with Christopher Nolan for the third time? What were his writing rituals, and how does he work with his actors to create the vivid characters who inhabit his movies?
This month, The Hollywood Reporter celebrates the release of The Dark Knight Rises with a series of articles that will profile aspects of the movie and its making.
In this excerpt from those articles, we look at Nolan’s writing process — and the notebooks in which he keeps track of possible future projects. The first scene of The Dark Knight Rises takes place on a football field in India, where a young boy is playing catch with his father.
But there was no way for Nolan to know that when he was writing this particular scene — or any other moment in the film — because he had not yet decided how long ago it would be set. “I don’t start writing a movie until I’ve figured out all those things,” says Nolan.
“That way you’re only dealing with one set of ideas.” It’s a process he likens to putting together a jigsaw puzzle: If you don’t have all of your pieces then, it will Christopher Nolan (born 1970) is an English filmmaker and one of the highest-grossing directors of all time.
He is known for making complex, cerebral and nonlinear films such as Memento (2000), The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010).
He co-founded the London-based production company Syncopy Films in 1997 with his wife Emma Thomas. His brother Jonathan Nolan, who writes screenplays with him, is also a screenwriter.
The writing process by Christopher Nolan has been referenced several times in interviews and articles, both by him and other people involved in the making of his films.
He has stated that he writes the script treatment first before breaking it down into a storyboard and then creating a script from that: “I work up ideas using storyboards – that’s my favorite part of the process.
“I’ll do a lot of drawings and put things together to try to visualise something. It’s very important for me to get a sense of what I’m actually trying to achieve before I sit down and start writing.”
He has also said that he prefers to change things in post-production rather than during filming: “I like editing; I like working in the cutting room because it gives you so much more flexibility.
How Christopher Nolan Wrote Memento
Remember Memento, the movie where Guy Pearce is trying to find his wife’s murderer? The film was written and directed by Christopher Nolan and it was released in 2000.
The story is told backwards, which may seem difficult to write, but Chris Nolan managed to do it.
Here are some of the techniques he used: Useful phrases. In order to write a script backwards, you have to think about the plot and how it will be unraveled.
To make this easier, Nolan came up with a few phrases that would help him keep track of what he needed to do. For example, at one point Marty (the main character) tells Teddy that he’s going to go back for his suit – “I’m getting my suit”.
It’s a phrase that would remind Nolan that at one point in the script Marty has his suit and he needs to get it back.
This technique can help you add important elements to your plot which makes it easier for you to move forward with your story.
Step by step method. Chris Nolan decided to write the scenes based on their chronological order – beginning first scene with flashbacks and ending with the last scene.
Basically, like you would read a book starting from chapter 1 and ending with chapter 25. This method has its One of the most unique movies in recent memory is Memento, the story of an amnesiac played by Guy Pearce.
The movie starts at the end and ends at the beginning, and it jumps back and forth in time to keep viewers on their toes.
The writer and director of that film, Christopher Nolan, has gone on to create some truly memorable films since then (Inception).
So what was it like to write a script that essentially tells a story backwards? Nolan tells us, “I think I first started thinking about telling a story backwards while I was still in college.”
He says he was majoring in film studies at University College London when he started writing short stories, including one that told a story from end to beginning.
“It’s almost like you’re looking into the abyss,” Nolan said about that experience. “You know how things are going to end up, but you don’t know how you’re going to get there.”
Memento took nine years for Nolan to get made. It was made for $4 million dollars and ended up making nearly $40 million worldwide.
Memento also went on to win an Academy Award for best original screenplay.
Screenwriting Tips From Christopher Nolan
From his early days with the short films that would eventually become his feature film debut, Following, to his more recent works like Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan has been known for his distinctive style of filmmaking.
Tapping into his creative process, we asked Nolan if he could share any tips for up-and-coming screenwriters.
Here are a few of them: “Don’t read your reviews.” “Don’t worry about what other people think.”
“Don’t be too precious about an idea.” “Write the script you want to write.”
“Put yourself in the position of someone who’s going to see your movie.” There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come out and say it: you’re a terrible screenwriter.
I’ve read your stuff, and it’s not good at all. The dialogue is clunky.
The characters aren’t believable. And the plot—don’t get me started on the plot.
Thing is, if you want to succeed as a screenwriter, you need to understand what makes a screenplay successful. You need to know what your audience wants to see and how to give it to them.
And that means learning from the best: Hollywood screenwriters with hits like Inception, Memento, Interstellar, and Batman Begins under their belts. These are the guys you need to be studying if you want to learn how to write a screenplay.
With that in mind, here are five of Christopher Nolan’s screenwriting tips that’ll help transform your writing into something worth reading (and perhaps even watching).
In the history of cinema, there are only a handful of directors who have been able to truly reinvent their genre.
Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino come to mind, but the name that holds the most weight amongst them all is Christopher Nolan.
Jumping from indie darling Memento to the Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan has made his mark on the cinematic landscape with his unique take on storytelling and film.
With his latest film Interstellar set to release in November and many more projects in development, we’ve taken a look at some of Nolan’s favorite screenwriting tips from an interview with The Wall Street Journal below. “I think it’s important when you’re writing a script not to overwrite it.”
Nolan is a very visual writer and prefers to do most of his writing on the back of old calendars. He lays out the entire story in pictures before putting any words down on paper.
This allows him to visualize the flow of story and makes it easier for him to find places where he might be wasting time or repeating himself. “Give yourself permission in your writing process.”
One thing that makes Nolan such a successful screenwriter is his ability to edit and rewrite as he goes along.
Christopher Nolan Use Non-Linear Timelines
For most of his filmography, Christopher Nolan has used non-linear timelines. His first film, Following, was done in a linear timeline.
Memento was non-linear, but played out in reverse. The Prestige shows two parallel stories that eventually converge at the climax. Inception plays with the concept of dreams within dreams and the manipulation of memories through inception.
Following leads to Memento which leads to The Prestige which leads to Inception.
Non-Linear Timelines are not new to cinema, many filmmakers have experimented with them throughout the years, but what is interesting about Nolan’s use of it is that he is able to construct a narrative whilst using it effectively and making sense of it for his audience.
2014’s Interstellar ventures into a completely different space-time continuum where time is relative – meaning that time on earth as experienced by Cooper (portrayed by Matthew McConaughey) may pass much slower than time back on earth as experienced by his daughter (portrayed by Jessica Chastain).
While this concept is very difficult to grasp Nolan handles it perfectly and coherently throughout the movie.
Christopher Nolan is one of the most critically acclaimed director of his generation, and this is largely because he combines both classical storytelling and cutting edge technology. In many ways, he is the perfect example of how to use a non-linear timeline in film making.
Towards the end of his hugely successful movie The Dark Knight, it looks like Batman has failed: The Joker has taken over the city and Batman is powerless to stop him. Then we cut back to see what happened earlier that day.
We see Harvey Dent as Two-Face and Batman stopping him from blowing up two ferries filled with civilians. Then we go back further to see Bruce Wayne deciding to become a vigilante in response to his parents’ murder.
Finally, we go all the way back to see how Bruce’s parents were killed and the Joker’s rise to power.The reason this works so well is that it takes us through all of our main characters’ points of view, so we understand their different motivations for what they are doing.
It also means that when Batman succeeds at the end of the movie, he is not only saving Gotham but also performing an act of redemption for Harvey Dent and taking down the man who caused his parents’ death. It makes the ending more satisfying and adds real emotional weight.
Christopher Nolan Embrace Genre
Besides being one of the most powerful showrunners in Hollywood, Christopher Nolan is also famous for his love of genre. He’s said that he never feels the need to tackle a true story.
Rather, he seems to find inspiration in some of the best-known stories ever told. Tense courtroom drama? Check.
Superhero movie? Check. Crime thriller? Check.
And now, with Dunkirk, he’s added WWII epic to the list. But Nolan isn’t just a fan of these genres; he’s an expert at them as well.
His familiarity with a wide range of storytelling styles makes it possible for him to make each genre feel fresh and new once again.
Here are three lessons from Christopher Nolan about working in genre: Embrace Genre: Although Christopher Nolan has worked in a variety of genres throughout his career, he has been an unabashed fan of several core genres from the very beginning—and that’s served him well.
If you’re passionate about a particular type of storytelling, explore its possibilities! It can be challenging—but it can also be liberating and fun to work in a genre you’re already familiar with.
As Chris has said himself, “The world is so rich and strange [genre] is something I haven It’s no secret that Christopher Nolan has a reputation for being, well, not exactly everyone’s cup of tea.
His films are often met with mixed reception, and even the most venerated of his works are subject to critique from both critics and casual audiences.
The reasons for this are myriad, but one could be the fact that Nolan tends to embrace genre conventions and then reinterpret them in ways that leave some people scratching their heads or downright bewildered.
Trying to categorize Nolan is an exercise in futility. One only need look at the wide variety of films he’s made over the years to realize that there is no singular theme or tone to his work.
He’s done sci-fi (Inception), he’s done fantasy (The Prestige), he’s done historical drama (American Hustle), and he’s done superhero movies (Batman Begins).
It would be a mistake to try and peg him as a director who delivers one particular type of film, but if there is any consistency in his work it would be that he tends to be drawn towards stories about characters who have endured some sort of trauma.
The easiest example of this is Memento, which puts memory loss at its center; following this trend we can see how Nolan has approached other topics.
Christopher Nolan Make Your Protagonist Insatiable
It’s hard to accept, but we’re in the age of sequels. They’re everywhere.
Some of them are good, some of them aren’t. But as a filmmaker you’ve got to make sure that your film is different from the others, whether it’s a sequel or not.
If you’re making a sequel then you have to keep your audience engaged for anything between one and two hours, which is no easy feat.
The key to doing this is by making sure that your protagonist is insatiable.
Explaining what an insatiable character looks like is pretty simple, the challenge lies in having the skill to have characters that are interesting and equally as insatiable as their protagonists.
Any writer will tell you that they struggle with creating interesting characters and I’m no different.
In fact I find myself struggling with this on a daily basis and there are many times where I come up short, especially when it comes to writing characters that are sympathetic or even likable.
This sometimes gets me into trouble when writing dialogue for them because I often don’t know how they should sound or act on screen until I write their dialogue for them first.
The reason why it’s hard for me to create those characters that audiences want to see more of has nothing to do with When a filmmaker puts their protagonist in charge of the film’s narrative, the result is often disastrous.
This is because protagonists tend to be the characters who are easiest for us to relate to and understand. This makes them easy to empathize with, but it also makes them predictable — the hero pursues a certain objective and invariably succeeds in attaining it.
This can make a story boring, as we know what will happen before it happens. To keep audiences invested in a film, filmmakers need to put their protagonists in situations where they’re likely to fail.
Most importantly, they have to make these characters insatiable — they have to want something so badly that no matter how close they come to getting it, they’re going to keep trying anyway.
In this way, the audience will understand why someone would continue pursuing an unattainable goal even when defeat seems inevitable.
Christopher Nolan Think Visually
Movie making is a visual art, so it’s no surprise that Christopher Nolan likes to think visually. The writer/director of films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Inception” has been known to draw storyboards for his films.
But he also uses images in other ways. Christopher Nolan thinks visually and makes use of pictures in his filmmaking.
Image from Visual Storytelling: Making Movies That Make Sense by Christopher Nolan and Emma Reeves (2007).
In the 2007 book “Visual Storytelling: Making Movies That Make Sense,” Nolan describes how he used pictures to help develop a project called “Memento Mori.”
This film is about a man who can’t form new memories after a traumatic incident. “I started off with a series of thumbnail images — literally little one-inch-square pieces of paper with an image on them,” Nolan said.
“I put them up in order on my office wall and started playing around with how you might tell this story in terms of imagery.” By constructing the story visually, Nolan was able to develop the plot more fully.
He was able to see how each scene related to the next and what information would be needed at each point along the way.
This approach worked so well that Nolan began using it again on The iconic movie director explains how he thinks visually and how that affects his filmmaking process—and how you can apply those same principles to your own life.
It’s not the only way to be successful, but it sure is the fun way. How do filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan create their movies? They think visually.
It’s no surprise to anyone who has watched any of his work that Nolan is a visual thinker—he’s one of the few directors who can truly be described as an auteur, which comes from the French word for “author” and refers to a film’s creator with total control over every aspect of the film.
In fact, when you look at Nolan’s career, you see that he has been thinking visually since the beginning. In 2006, Nolan made his feature film directing debut with Insomnia, a remake of a Norwegian film that had already been remade once before by another Danish director, Erik Skjoldbjærg.
(Nolan was reportedly reluctant to make the movie, but agreed after being convinced by producer Alissa Phillips.) He cast two actors—Al Pacino and Robin Williams—who were well on their way out of box-office favor in Hollywood. He shot most of the movie on location in Alaska.