Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor, Douglas Steinberg! Douglas is teaching a new course this Spring, Writing the Ensemble Series Pilot, and sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and his upcoming course.

What sparks your creativity?
Two things ignite my creative juices: a) other books, plays, films and tv series that inspire me to mistakenly think, “Hey, I can do that.” And b) coming upon an idea where two rights collide, an idea so rife with conflict and so obviously without an answer that it has to be explored, exploited and written.

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
I don’t want to sound insensitive, but writers write — that is my credo. If you want to be a writer, or call yourself a writer, or want to get ahead, or don’t want to have regrets in life about having neglected your passion, then get to work. Otherwise, stop kidding yourself. No excuses, find the time, and get to work.

What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
My favorite book is whatever I’m reading — really reading — at the time. Presently I am inhaling The North Water. My favorite American movies are Network, The Godfather I and II, Lawrence of Arabia, Fargo, Doubt, Election, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Remains of the Day, Reds, Chinatown and, oh say, maybe a hundred others.

What’s your favorite quote about writing?
“Nobody knows anything… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what is going to work.”
– William Goldman

“Writing is rewriting.”  – George Kaufman

Who do you wish you could write like?
I wish I could write like Paddy Chayefsky, Steve Zallian, Vince Gilligan, David Chase, Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa, Josh Brand, David Kelley, David Mamet, John Sakmar and Kerry Lenhart.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
What excites me about teaching is the idea that I can share essential approaches to the craft that I learned over many years, approaches gleaned from incredible mentors and bosses and through a variety of experiences, sometimes painful, sometimes exhilarating.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I’d love it if my students could add what they learn from me to their previous courses and, with that knowledge in hand, go out and knock Hollywood dead.

Anything else?
Go for it.  If you win, it’ll be life-changing. If you fail, so what; everybody fails at something.

Thank you to Douglas for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!


Bree is the Assistant to the Director and Social Media Coordinator. You can email her at btodish@uclaextension.edu.

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