Nicole Holofcener | Screenwriters Lecture

Join acclaimed writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) as she delivers a phenomenal and enlightening lecture about the importance of following your own voice as well as exploring her history as a filmmaker. Find some of our favourite moments below!

How to find your voice

I'm writing what I wanna write about, and if you're doing the same and not trying to fit into someone else's idea of what a good story is, your voice will appear (or at least it should), and it doesn't have to be autobiographical for it to be your own.

Although Holofcener draws heavily on her own life to craft the stories she writes for screen, she stresses that this is not the only way to develop a strong voice of one's own. For her, the key is avoiding excessive input or influence from others.

Vulnerability on screen

It was me directing a scene about my limitations when I still had those limitations.

In 2010 film Please Give, Catherine Keener's character tries to volunteer with children with learning disabilities only to end up crying in the bathroom, too lost in pitying them to actually help. Holofcener says she wrote this scene with herself in mind, revealing a part of her personality that she's ashamed of.

The fear of writer's block

I'm not writing a new script. I can't. I've been stuck and blocked, and I'm afraid I'll never write another script again. My friends tell me I say that every time, but there is a time when it will be that time, and how do I know this isn't it?

Can all the writers out there relate? Holofcener takes a moment to admit that she's currently struggling to write, reminding us that we're often too invested to see what everyone else can see: it's just a tough period, and you'll make it through just like you always have.

A writing schedule that works

My ideal thing--and I've done this from the start--is to get up early and write for a couple of solid hours.

Everyone's writing routine differs, but it's always helpful to see what other people do! For Holofcener, it's those early morning hours that generate the most concentrated work.