Taylor Sheridan on Hell or High Water

by Naomi Beaty on January 6, 2017

Awards season brings not only a selection of great movies, but also plenty of opportunities to learn from the filmmakers of some of the year's best films.

>> Related: 2016 Awards Season Screenplays to Download!

For today's dose of inspiration and insight, watch this short video featuring Hell or High Water writer Taylor Sheridan. We'll highlight our favorite takeaways below.

Two points that stand out in particular:

First, Taylor talks about mining his own feelings about his life situation at the time -- becoming a new father and struggling to provide for his family. And even though the movie isn't an autobiographical story, those powerful, authentic emotional details are definitely present in the story.

And second, Taylor also mentions mining the world he grew up in. While it may not always be necessary to "write what you know" in a literal sense, in this case his familiarity with that world allowed him to imbue the script with the kind of specificity that makes it come alive on the page. His understanding of the world also gave him a shortcut into his characters.

>> Related: 5 Ways Screenwriters Can Get Into the Minds of Their Characters

The authenticity and specificity he was able to bring to the script allowed it to serve as a great calling card for Taylor as a writer. It feels "on brand" -- and that's something that new writers looking to break in might be smart to consider.

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