Ben Hecht

I have known a handful of producers who actually were equal or superior to the writers with whom they worked. These producers were a new kind of nonwriting writer hatched by the movies – as Australia produced wingless birds. They wrote without pencils or even words. Using a sort of mime-like talent, they could make up things like writers.

The factors that laid low so whooping and puissant an empire as the old Hollywood are many. I can think of a score, including the barbarian hordes of Television. But there is one that stands out for me in the post-mortem…. The factor had to do with the basis of movie-making: ‘Who shall be in charge of telling the story.’

Criticism can never instruct or benefit you. Its chief effect is that of a telegram with dubious news. Praise leaves no glow behind, for it is a writer’s habit to remember nothing good of himself. I have usually forgotten those who have admired my work, and seldom anyone who disliked it. Obviously, this is because praise is never enough and censure always too much.