Boston, MA – [June 7. 2022] Elmore Leonard, author of more than 40 novels, is renowned in the literary community. From his westerns and early novels of crime based in Detroit and South Florida, right through his complex and virtually plotless later work, Elmore Leonard dissected an America whose founding sins have continued to haunt it all the days. Leonard’s depiction of America is as real as Twain’s Hannibal, Faulkner’s Mississippi and Steinbeck’s Monterey. The new documentary ELMORE LEONARD: “But don’t try to write” explores the prolific author’s legacy and his influence on generations of writers. The documentary features exclusive images and previously unseen home movie footage, family photographs, and in-depth interviews with both literary experts and those who knew him well, including colleagues, family, and childhood friends. Directed and written by John Mulholland and narrated by Campbell Scott, the program is distributed and presented by American Public Television (APT) and premieres on public television stations nationwide beginning July 1, 2022 (check local listings for airdates).
But Don't Try to Write
Elmore Leonard’s life, his works, his place in the American literary pantheon, is the subject of this new documentary. Central to the film, adding depth and resonance, is more than half-an-hour of never-before-seen interview footage with Leonard in which he analyzes and discusses how he started, why he wrote what he did, how he arrived at his lean, terse minimalist trademark. Releasing on public television July 2022.
Narrated by Campbell Scott, Produced/Edited by Richard Zampella, Written & Directed by John Mulholland
Elmore Leonard, one of the most popular and admired authors of his time, wrote more than forty novels and dozens of short stories. Among his many NY Times bestsellers: Tishomingo Blues, Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch. Unlike most (so-called) genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously, indeed, by those in the literary arena.
FILM & TELEVISION ADAPTIONS
Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules on Writing
On July 16, 2001, Elmore Leonard made his timeless contribution to the meta-literary canon in a short piece for The New York Times, outlining his ten rules of writing.
1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.