• James Walton

Why Damon and Affleck Haven't Written a Movie in 25 Years

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting, the classic that earned them both Oscars for Best Screenplay in 1997.

They didn't write another movie together until this year when The Last Duel will come out, 25 years later.

The reason wasn't because they lacked ideas, or capacity, or financial backing.

The reason was that writing Good Will Hunting taught them it was too hard and they wanted to avoid spending the time.

Here's Damon describing it:

We had anticipated this kind of grind [writing The Last Duel], because the way we wrote Good Will Hunting, we didn't really know what we were doing. We wrote thousands of pages; we really understood the characters, but really didn't understand structure, so we put them in different scenes. And then we had all these scenes and we mashed them together and eventually made some kind of structure out of it.

This time, we've both been making movies for 30 years, all we've been doing is telling 2 hour stories in three acts. We wrote so much faster. [Writing Good Will Hunting] had kept us from writing for all these years because it's too time consuming. But we found that now we can do it really fast, and we had a blast."

Two thoughts from this:

  1. The first time you do anything will be the most difficult. The learning curve to bring anything from idea to reality is treacherous and marked with untold difficulties. Expect that, accommodate those challenges as best you can, and remember that it won't ever be as hard as it is right now.

  2. Achieving mastery is a reward unto itself. Pick a discipline or a skill. Commit to it for a sufficient period of time that what was once terrible and difficult becomes easy and obvious. The more you are excellent in a discipline, the more fun you'll end up having. It won't always be fun getting there (see above) but the end result will be worth it.


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