Being Charlie Kaufman


Back in September, along with several hundred people in a packed BFI, I experienced something unique.  Charlie Kaufman gave a speech.

It was the final flourish of this year’s BFI/BAFTA series of lectures from top screenwriters, and the epitome of saving the best till last.  The unique talent behind the likes of Being John Malkovitch, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Adaptation was an unassuming small man in a brown wool suit.  He’d been told that England can be chilly, but nobody had said anything about the late heatwave at the time.  So sweat trickled from his thatch of unruly hair and his much-need glass of water was frequently topped up.

The Jiffy bag under his arm contained his script, which was delivered in a voice shot through with New York Jewish angst.  He touched on favourite themes such as marketing (“my sneaker company tells me how to life my life – so I just do it.”), truth and invidualism in writing, YouTube and aggression on the internet and his compulsion to write.

He said an awful lot more and now, at long last, the footage is on BAFTA Guru.   Why it’s taken so long, I don’t know, but it’s been worth the wait to see it again.  For me, it was fascinating and truly inspirational.  I hope you think the same.






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