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Charlie Intro

From Audio: Charlie Kaufman
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Welcome to City Arts and Lectures, a season of talks and onstage conversations with some of the most celebrated writers, artists and thinkers of our day, recorded before an audience at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco. Yeah, this week, a conversation with Charlie Kaufman, one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of our time, Kaufman is best known for movies like Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His unique style, sometimes labeled surrealist, features characters that reflect back on themselves stories within stories that blur the boundaries between dream and event. Now, with his debut novel, Aunt Kind, Kaufman continues to explore the absurd and often lonely nature of human consciousness. On June 15th 2020 Charlie Kaufman spoke to Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the novel less about the freedoms and challenges of writing a book. Join us Now for a conversation with Charlie Kaufman. I don't mean to Fanboy too much, but I just really have enjoyed over the years your I mean, what does it does it feel like? People are always calling you surreal and those sort of things. Does it make sense to you? I mean, it makes sense. I guess it makes sense, but I It's not how I think about my work. Um, but I guess there is some sort of, like, you know, dreamy stuff going on. And but to me, it's just a way to get to sort of something, you know, that feels riel. I mean, that's I just remember so well in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that when I came out, I just knew the scene that was really hard for me to write. I was like, I'm gonna put him in a fever during the scene. And that's how I'll get through something That's hard Thio. Hard to tell, um, because you could you could have hallucinations. Is that the idea that I could have hallucinations? I could skip parts, You know, the part. It was like a break up. And I just thought it was so corny to do a real break up. And I realized if I did a fever that I could like have him not quite remember parts of it correctly. And I was like, Oh, how much more like real life? Yeah. Yeah, I am. I love looking at dreams. I love thinking about my own dreams and it feels like there's so much freedom and in being able to use that kind of logic and that kind of irrationality to express the world, that's not the dream world. So I've gotten to a point now where I don't even I don't even have to have a justification for it. You know what I mean? Like, I don't need toe. Oh, it's a dream or he's dreaming here. I just This is just the world that they're in. Um, in fact, with Cinetic e. That was kind of the thing I was trying for was to sort of, like take his dream world and just put it into the his real life and not not ever referred to it is anything but his real life. I think I just come out and with the question I'm dying to ask, which is basically after you've tried so many art forms and bend a success in them. Why on earth which you go and do a novel or what you know, that's what I want to know is why a novel? Well, I mean there are a few reasons. One is that there was so much freedom for me there. I mean, there were no there were. There were no constraints. I didn't have to deal. When you When you write a screenplay, it has to cost a certain amount of no one's gonna make it unless they think they're gonna make that much back. I could I more back. I could, you know, make a I could make this book a zoo elaborated and fanciful and expenses expensive, as I wanted. Thio. Um, and it wouldn't cost anything more. Um, And in fact, initially, the initial idea was to write about a movie that couldn't possibly exist. That sort of, like was the way into the story for an kind For me. So, um and, uh, I don't know, It just gives me complete control. I don't have to answer to producers. I don't have to cast anyone. Although I like working with actors, You know, this this sort of there's a freedom not not having thio, you know, um, so I guess that but in a way, you had to be your your own actors. You had to build your own sets and so your own cost. But you do that, but you do that as a screenwriter anyway. And so I'm doing I mean, you you write the characters and then you have to kind of then translated into some other person into into an actor and have those two things merge and, um, which is, which is really exciting and can be really an exciting thing. But this seemed like an interesting thing to try, and it was at a point when I wasn't able to get anything made in terms of films. Um, and this this opportunity came to me and I thought, Well, I'll try it. It's not like I had never thought about it before. I always thought about it, but I was very frustrated with the movie and television business at that point, as I still am. Ah ah, lot of things you're saying I think, are why a lot of us shows writing it off. I think control is is the main reason. Um, I'm just curious how it felt, how it felt to to right, especially you have to write and to write a mean another question is about a big book. Um, it wasn't supposed to be a big book. It didn't e mean that wasn't my intention. It just ended up that way. I worked on this book for
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