"Second, figure out the two or three scenes you feel passionate about, then the scene that just has to be done your way. Be prepared to find a compromise on everything except that one scene. Third, resort to guerilla tactics. Don't throw tantrums or get involved in knock-down drag-out fights because you're going to lose. The actors are usually on your side - sell them your idea, pitch them over a pizza. It works."
Are screenwriting courses useful? "Maybe, though I didn't take one, I learned on the job. Writing is a craft, not a profession. Somebody that goes to medical school or takes up law has a guaranteed level of competence, a writer's expertise is entirely on the way he or she uses their tools. I think it's probably more useful to learn film production or directing or acting, because producers, directors and actors are the people who read your script first. I went out and became an extra, then got a few bit parts, nothing impressive but it got me talking to producers, directors and actors, these people read your script from the point of view of their disciplines, not that of a writer. In my case, someone eventually said 'come and write a script for me', they wouldn't have said that if they didn't know me."
"You actually end up with a rough idea of what budget it'll take to make your movie. That helps when you're pitching, some production companies have a problem over $5m, others won't look at anything less than $10m or more. There's no point in pitching a $30m movie to a $2m producer. The other way around, it's easier. "Waterworld" was $2m dollar movie that cost $150m to produce and I think it shows.