Charlie Kaufman: Screenplays Download

Charlie Kaufman: Screenplays Download

Charlie Kaufman is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. His work is so uniquely his that you can tell you are reading a Kaufman script within the first page. His breakout screenplay Being John Malkovich established him as a creative force in Hollywood.

Charlie is one of the most celebrated screenwriters of his era., being nominated for four Acadamy Awards, twice for Best Original Screenplay Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(he won the Oscar® for latter). You can learn volumes about pace, structure, and dialog just by reading his screenplays.

Before you lock yourself in a room and start reading all of Charlie Kaufman’s Screenplays, take a listen to this masterclass given by Mr. Kaufman himself.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Take a listen to the #1 Screenwriting Show on Apple Podcasts.

Oliver Stone, (Platoon, Scarface, Wall Street)

John August, (Aladdin, Big Fish)

Jim Uhls (Fight Club)

Daniel Knauf (HBO Showrunner)


SCANNER DARKLY (1997)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman (Unproduced Draft) – Read the screenplay!

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

HUMAN NATURE (2001)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

ADAPTATION(2002)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND (2002)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND(2004)

**Won an Oscar® for Best Screenplay**Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (2008)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

ANOMALISA (2015)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman- Read the screenplay!

I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (2020)

Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman- Read the screenplay!


Charlie Kaufman: Master Screenwriter & Storyteller

Charlie Kaufman, what can I say? In my opinion,

“Charlie Kaufman is one of the greatest screenwriters alive today.”

If you have ever read one of his screenplays or watch a film based on his writing you will see that no one on the planet, other than Charlie Kaufman, can write a Charlie Kaufman screenplay.

Charlie Kaufman in one of modern cinema’s most celebrated screenwriters, his work includes the surreal fantasy Being John Malkovich, the Oscar® winning cerebral sci-fi Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the truly underrated Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and one of my favorites the comedy-drama Adaptation.

Charlie Kaufman has had a career that most screenwriters and directors would envy and while his filmography is impeccable, it is his unique style of writing and director that has allowed him to receive great acclaim.

Being Charlie Kaufman

He grew up in Massapequa, New York and was born into a Jewish family. The entertainment bug bit him early on and he was an active member of his high school’s drama club. He met his first writing partner, Paul Porch, while attending New York University to study film and the two began to write spec scripts together for a variety of sitcoms.

Kaufman’s first taste of success came when he was commissioned to write two episodes of the short-lived Chris Elliott sitcom Get a Life during the 1991-92 television season. While he also wrote a few pilots, none went into production and after doing some additional writing work for The Dana Carvey Show and Ned and Stacey, he would set his sights on the film industry.

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His unique script for Being John Malkovich established his personal writing style and placed him on Hollywood’s radar as one of the most idiosyncratic and thoughtful writers currently working. He has spoken openly about taking his time when it comes to writing a script, so that he can truly get to know the characters.

Charlie Kaufman movies are their own experience and there is nothing quite like them. The viewer knows when they are watching Charlie Kaufman movies and his organic approach to writing allows his films to stand out like none other.

Control seems to be a recurring them in his filmography and Charlie Kaufman’s career had grown to the point where he was able to direct his own screenplays. He believes that your fate is what you create and this mentality permeates all of his films, from Being John Malkovich’s puppeteer protagonist to Syndeoche, New York’s tortured artist who only finds solace in creating art as it unfolds.

In the wake of the critical acclaim that was generated by Being John Malkovich, Kaufman was able to get another one of his screenplays produced and the resulting film, the Michel Gondry-directed Human Nature, received mixed reviews and is considered to be one of his more minor works.

Adaptation

His next film, Adaptation, reunited him with Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze and firmly established Charlie Kaufman as a screenwriter who is not afraid to use his personal experiences to fuel the creative process. His avatar in the film is terrified to ask a woman for a date and the idea for Adaptation is based on his very real struggles with writing an adaptation for the novel The Orchid Thief.

Charlie Kaufman received a second Oscar nomination for his work on the film (the first was for Being John Malkovich) and he was ascendant on Hollywood’s A-list.

His ability to draw on things that have actually happened in his own life helps him when it comes to following characters into a story and creating worlds that are richly drawn. His writing also incorporates themes that are relevant to our times, as Being John Malkovichfocused on our newfound need for avatars, while Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa took direct aim at social media ego-centrism.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

The follow up to Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, became George Clooney‘s first directorial vehicle and Charlie Kaufman took umbrage with Clooney’s methods, as he made sweeping changes to the script after consulting Chuck Barris, the game show who believed himself to be a hitman that the script was based on.

Charlie Kaufman’s desire for control fueled his eventual frustrations with the finished product, as he believes that Clooney and Barris cut him out of the process, expecting him to simply deliver a script and get out of the way.

From there, he embarked on a second creative union with Michel Gondry and the result, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, stands as one of his greatest cinematic achievements. While his approach and process may seem freestyle to some, it is clear to see that there is a method to the madness.

He received a well-deserved Academy Award for his screenplay and was finally able to seize the control he had always desired. His next two films, Synedoche, New Yorkand the aforementioned Anomalisa, are the first where he was permitted to direct his own screenplays and while they both received great acclaim from critics, they were largely overlooked at the box office.

His Process

This has caused Charlie Kaufman to become more introspective in recent interviews and he has spoken openly about his writing process and his fear of failure. While his works are often tagged with the surrealist label, identity crises and the meaning of life are discussed on a regular basis.

His willingness to fictionalize his own life and draw on the problems he’s experienced in his own world give his scripts a much-needed touch of humanization, which allow him to explore the above themes in a much more thorough manner. A Charlie Kaufman script is not cranked out at the behest of an impatient studio, it is carefully and painstakingly crafted over the course of time, in a manner that is organic to him.

Kaufman was recently asked about his seeming obsession with the concept of authenticity and he spoke of his disinterest in anything else. To him, inauthenticity is one of the most interesting subjects and that is why it recurs in his works on such a regular basis.

He prizes the specificity of his writing style and says that when he watches films from other directors, he cannot imagine making them himself. The inability to pretend to be someone that he is not is what makes his films great, but it also serves to restrict many of them to cult classic status among cinephiles.

Despite his controlling, intensely personal style of writing, he does let this mentality bleed over into his bedside manner on set, as he believes that a set should be run much like a party. Kaufman sees the process of creating a film as a means for everyone on set to have a good time and while some might imagine him as a ruthless taskmaster on set, this is the furthest thing from the truth.

Charlie Kaufman: The Obsessive Artist

True to his neurotic, failure obsessive nature, Charlie Kaufman does wonder if the style he uses on set will detract from the final product. However, he also expresses a desire to avoid the temptation to mimic other, more exacting directors like Werner Herzog. His level of self-awareness serves him well, as he knows exactly where his strengths and weaknesses lie.

Few directors or screenwriters have ever explored the concepts of mortality and depression in quite the same way as Charlie Kaufman and he has a unique gift for telling stories that speak directly to life in modern society. His characters are angry and depressed, but they also possess the self-awareness to know that they are not alone in their suffering.

Once again Charlie Kaufman has push the edges of the film frame (though it was shot on digital) with his new stop motion animatedfilm “Anomalisa.” An inspirational speaker (David Thewlis) becomes reinvigorated after meeting a lively woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who shakes up his mundane existence.

I’ll be first in line to see it. Take a look at the trailer and featurette below.


Here’s his filmography:

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