If you ask the Coen brothers about how they write their films, you might not get a straight answer. “It’s mostly napping,” Ethan tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “We go to the office, we’re there, we’re in a room together,” Joel adds. “We take naps, but, you know, the important thing is that we’re at the office, should we be inspired to actually write something.” The brothers don’t split up writing responsibilities — they “talk through” the dialogue and “work it out together,” Joel explains. —The Coen Bros. On Writing, ‘Lebowski’ And Literally Herding Cats
The essential Coen brothers screenplays every aspiring screenwriter must read:
During the promotional campaign for ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ in 1999, the BBC showed a 50 minute documentary about the Coen brothers. It was mainly concerned with the Coen’s past and featured interviews with many of the actors that have worked with the Coens along with family, friends and crew members.
The most interesting part of this documentary for me, was a scene where a bookcase was shown (I think it was in the Coen brother’s office). On the bookcase were around 40 screenplays that the brothers had written and not yet made. Titles included; Intolerable Cruelty (since made, of course), Coast To Coast (which is about a Chinese plan to take over the world using cloning which apparently featured 28 Albert Einsteins!), Voices, Chatahoochee, Leap In The Dark, Johnny Skidmarks (which was written by their friend and collaborator, William Preston Robertson and made into a movie in 1998 by director John Raffo and starring John Lithgoe, Peter Gallagher and one Frances McDormand), Meet Bobby Buttman, The Concierge (I don’t know if it is or not but how excellent would a movie about Heinz the Baron Krauss Von Espie be?), Mr. Murder, Cult Cop, The Land of Youth, A Man In Shades, Justified Sin, Quark Victory, Red Harvest and Respect Your Godfather. No news on any of these unless stated I’m afraid. —You Know, For Kids!
In the early years of space flight, both Russians and Americans used pencils in space. Unfortunately, pencil lead is made of graphite, a highly conductive material. Snapped graphite leads and particles in zero gravity are hugely problematic, as they will get sucked into the air ventilation or electronic equipment, easily causing shorts or fires in the pure oxygen environment of a capsule.
After the fire in Apollo 1 which killed all the astronauts on board, NASA required a writing instrument that wasn’t a fire hazard. Fisher spent over a million dollars (of his own money) creating a pressurized ball point pen, which NASA bought at $2.95 each. The Russian space program also switched over from pencils shortly after.
40 years later snide morons on the internet still snigger about it, because snide morons on the internet never know what they are talking about.