David Mamet Quotes 30 Notable David Mamet Quotes That Sound So True

David Mamet Quotes 30 Notable David Mamet Quotes That Sound So True

 

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David Mamet Quotes

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Acting
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  • Every scene should be able to answer three questions: “Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don’t get it? Why now?”

    David Mamet
    Three , Answers , Want
    “Crossings: David Mamet’s Work in Different Genres and Media”. Book by Johan Callens, 2009.

    69
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  • When the three branches of government have failed to represent the citizenry and the mass of the media has failed to represent the citizenry, then the citizenry better represent the citizenry.

    David Mamet
    Media , Government , Branches
    “David Mamets Conservative Conversion”. "Hannity" with Sean Hannity, www.foxnews.com. July 8, 2011.

    60
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  • Forget narrative, backstory, characterisation, exposition, all of that. Just make the audience want to know what happens next.

    David Mamet
    Want , Narrative , Next

    34
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  • One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. ‘One-size-fits-all,’ and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is ‘slavery.’

    David Mamet
    Country , Adventure , Cities
    "Hands Off Our Guns" by David Mamet, www.realclearpolitics.com. January 26, 2013.

    52
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  • The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always, ‘What does the protagonist want?’ That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants.

    David Mamet
    Drama , Ideas , Doe

    25
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  • You know, young actors say all the time, ‘Should I use my own life experience?’ And my response is, ‘What choice do you have?’

    David Mamet
    Choices , Use , Actors

    13
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  • It is the writer’s job to make the play interesting. It is the actor’s job to make the performance truthful.

    David Mamet
    Jobs , Play , Interesting
    David Mamet (2011). “True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor”, p.41, Vintage

    36
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  • A good writer gets better only by learning to cut, to remove the ornamental, the descriptive, the narrative, and especially the deeply felt and meaningful. What remains? The story remains.

    David Mamet
    Meaningful , Cutting , Get Better
    David Mamet (1991). “On Directing Film”, Penguin Group USA

    12
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  • When you come into the theatre, you have to be willing to say, ‘We’re all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world.’ If you’re not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.

    David Mamet
    Art , Theatre , World
    David Mamet (2013). “Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama”, p.27, Vintage

    42
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  • We all die in the end, but there’s no reason to die in the middle.

    David Mamet
    Reason , Ends , Middle

    20
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  • Encounter: Doubt, Shame, Humiliation. It will finally be worth it. Acting is more about courage than anything else.

    David Mamet
    Doubt , Acting , Encounters

    21
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  • Having spent too many years in show business, the one thing I see that succeeds is persistence. It’s the person who just ain’t gonna go home. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to go home. This is what I’ll be doing until they put me in jail or in a coffin.

    David Mamet
    Home , Persistence , Years

    37
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  • To find beauty in the sad, hope in the midst of loss, and dignity in failure is great poetic art.

    David Mamet
    Art , Loss , Dignity

    4
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  • Don’t write stage directions. If it is not apparent what the character is trying to accomplish by saying the line, tell us how the character said it or whether or not she moved to the couch isn’t going to aid the case.

    David Mamet
    Writing , Character , Theatre
    David Mamet (1986). “Writing in restaurants”, Viking Adult

    8
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  • Being a writer in Hollywood is like going to Hitler’s Eagle Nest with a great idea for a bar mitzvah.

    David Mamet
    Eagles , Ideas , Hollywood

    26
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  • President Obama seems to understand the Constitution as a ‘set of suggestions.’

    David Mamet
    President , Suggestions , Constitution

    1
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  • There’s no such thing as talent; you just have to work hard enough.

    David Mamet
    Hard Work , Talent , Enough

    25
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  • Opportunity may knock, but it seldom nags.

    David Mamet
    Opportunity , May
    David Mamet (1986). “Writing in restaurants”, Viking Adult

    34
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  • People may or may not say what they mean… but they always say something designed to get what they want.

    David Mamet
    Truth , Honesty , Mean

    27
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  • I examined my Liberalism and found it like an addiction to roulette. Here, though the odds are plain, and the certainty of loss apparent to anyone with a knowledge of arithmetic, the addict, failing time and again, is convinced he yet is graced with the power to contravene natural laws. The roulette addict, when he invariably comes to grief, does not examine either the nature of roulette, or of his delusion, but retires to develop a new system, and to scheme for more funds.

    David Mamet
    Grief , Loss , Odds

    6
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  • The Founders recognized that Government is quite literally a necessary evil, that there must be opposition, between its various branches, and between political parties, for these are the only ways to temper the individual’s greed for power and the electorates’ desires for peace by submission to coercion or blandishment.

    David Mamet
    Party , Government , Evil
    "Hands Off Our Guns" by David Mamet, www.realclearpolitics.com. January 28, 2013.

    3
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  • The subject of drama is The Lie. At the end of the drama THE TRUTH — which has been overlooked, disregarded, scorned, and denied — prevails. And that is how we know the Drama is done.

    David Mamet
    Drama , Lying , Writing
    David Mamet (2013). “Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama”, p.87, Vintage

    21
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  • It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs.

    David Mamet
    Government , Needs , Determine
    "David Mamets nonsensical Newsweek argument against gun control" by Oliver Burkeman, www.theguardian.com. January 29, 2013.

    7
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  • I look back on my liberal political beliefs with a sort of wonder – as another exercise in self-involvement – rewarding myself for some superiority I could not logically describe.

    David Mamet
    Exercise , Self , Political
    David Mamet (2011). “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture”, p.129, Penguin

    5
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  • Like Lincoln said: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong,” and I feel the same way about the leftist dismantling of the West. If that’s not wrong, then nothing is wrong.

    David Mamet
    Slavery , Way , West
    Source: www.rushlimbaugh.com

    6
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    Latest quotes from interviews

    “A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team.”

    – David Mamet,
    www.denofgeek.com , added Nov 18, 2016

    More (5)

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    • Born: November 30, 1947
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    Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian

    Ben Rosenfeld – Comedian

    Posted on by Ben Rosenfeld

    “True and False” Quotes

    I recently finished reading “ True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor ” by David Mamet. Here’s the quotes I found useful/interesting.

    “It is not childish to live with uncertainty, to devote oneself to a craft rather than a career, to an idea rather than an institution. It’s courageous and requires a courage of the order that the institutionally co-opted are ill equipped to perceive. They are so unequipped to perceive it that they can only call it childish, and so excuse their exploitation of you.” (18)

    “Part of the requirement of a life in the theatre is to stay out of school.” (18)

    “The audience will teach you how to act and the audience will teach you how to write and to direct. The classroom will teach you how to obey, and obedience in the theatre will get you nowhere. It’s a soothing falsity.” (19)

    “If you want to be in the theatre, go into the theatre. If you want to have made a valiant effort to go into the theatre before you go into real estate or law school or marry wealth, then perhaps you should stay in school.” (19)

    “The study of acting consists in the main of getting out of one’s own way, and in learning to deal with uncertainty and being comfortable being uncomfortable.” (20)

    “The actor has his own trials to undergo, and they are right in front of him. They don’t have to be super added; they exist. His challenge is not to recapitulate, to pretend to the difficulties of the written character; it is to open the mouth, stand straight, and say the words bravely – adding nothing, denying nothing, and without the intent to manipulate anyone: himself, his fellows, the audience.” (22)

    “Find your mark, look the other fellow in the eye, and tell the truth.” –James Cagney (25)

    “It is the audience that goes to the theatre to exercise its emotion – not the actor, the audience. And when they go, having paid to be moved, they exercise their right to their money’s worth.” (25)

    “The actor creates excuses not to act and attributes her reluctance to everything in the world except the actual cause.” (29)

    “Nobody cares how hard you worked. Nor should they.” (32)

    “Any worthwhile goal is difficult to accomplish. To say of it “I’ll try” is to excuse oneself in advance.” (34)

    “Those with “something to fall back on” invariably fall back on it. They intended to all along. That is why they provided themselves with it.” (34)

    “Where in the wide history of the world do we find art created by the excessively wealthy, powerful, or educated?” (35)

    “One could also say, “I see nothing else worth my time,” which is, I think, a rather strengthening attitude.” (35)

    “It is the writer’s job to make the play interesting. It is the actor’s job to make the performance truthful.” (41)

    “To serve in the real theatre, one needs to be able to please the audience and the audience only.” (42)

    “The opinion of teachers and peers is skewed, and too much time spent earning their good opinion unfits one for a life upon the stage.” (42)

    “You will not please either yourself or others in every aspect of every outing.” (48)

    “They come to the show to be pleased, and they will be pleased by the honest, the straightforward, the unusual, the intuitive – all those things, in short, which dismay both the teacher and the casting agent.” (50)

    “You have an enormously greater chance of eventually presenting yourself to, and eventually appealing to, an audience by striking out on your own, by making your own plays and films, than by submitting to the industrial model of the school and the studio.” (51)

    “The audience perceives only what the actor wants to do to the other actor.” (56)

    “Here, again, is your job: learn the lines, find a simple objective like that indicated by the author, speak the lines clearly in an attempt to achieve that objective.” (57)

    “It is not necessary to believe anything in order to act.” (57)

    “You have to learn the lines, look at the script simply to find a simple action for each scene, and then go out there and do your best to accomplish that action, and while you do, simply open your mouth and let the words come out however they will.” (62)

    “For to you, to the actor, it is not the words which carry the meaning – it is the actions.” (62)

    “What matters is what you mean. What comes from the heart goes to the heart. The rest is Funny Voices.” (63)

    “Two things should happen in the rehearsal process: 1. The play should be blocked 2. The actors should become acquainted with the actions they are going to perform.” (72)

    “An action is the attempt to accomplish something.” (72)

    “Each character in the play wants something. It is the actor’s job to reduce that something to its lowest common denominator and then act upon it.” (74)

    “The correct unit of study is not the play; it is the scene.” (75)

    “The boxer has to fight one round at a time; the fight will unfold as it is going to. The boxer takes a simple plan into the ring, and then has to deal with the moment. So do you. The correct unit of application is the scene.” (76)

    “The greatest performances are seldom noticed. Why? Because they do not draw attention to themselves, and do not seek to – like any real heroism, they are simple and unassuming, and seem to be a natural and inevitable outgrowth of the actor.” (79)

    “If we devote ourselves to the punchline, all else becomes clear. The punchline is the action.” (83)

    “You don’t have to become more interesting, more sensitive, more talented, more observant – to act better. You do have to become more active.” (84)

    “Nobody with a happy childhood ever went into show business.” (87)

    “Your concentration is always like water. It will always seek its own level – it will always flow to the most interesting thing around.” (94)

    “The more you are concerned with yourself, the less you are worthy of note.” (95)

    “The more a persons’ concentration is outward, the more naturally interesting that person becomes.” (95)

    “It’s not your responsibility to do things in an interesting manner – to become interesting. You are interesting. It’s your responsibility to become outward-directed.” (95)

    “Why not direct yourself toward the actions of the play? If they are concrete, provocative, and fun, it will be no task at all to do them; and to do them is more interesting than to concentrate on them.” (95)

    “No one wants to pay god money and irreplaceable time to watch you be responsible. They want to watch you be exciting.” (97)

    “Luck, if there is such a thing, is either going to favor everyone equally or going to exhibit a preference for the prepared.” (99)

    “Leave the concerns of the street on the street. And when you leave the theatre, leave that performance behind you. It’s over – if there is something you want to do differently next time, do it.” (102)

    “If you decide to be an actor, stick to your decision. The folks you meet in supposed positions of authority – critics, teachers, casting directors – will, in the main, be your intellectual and moral inferiors. They will lack your imagination, which is why they became bureaucrats rather than artists; and they will lack your fortitude, have elected institutional support over a life of self-reliance. They spend their lives learning lessons very different from the ones you learn, and many or most of them will envy you and this envy will express itself as contempt. It’s a cheap trick of unhappy people, and if you understand it for what it is, you need not adopt or be overly saddened by their view of you. It is the view of the folks on the veranda talking about the lazy slaves.” (110)

    “You don’t have to portray the hero or the villain. That’s been done for you by the script.” (114)

    “Most of us have learned something from a teacher. But I doubt if anyone ever learned anything from an Educator.” (122)

    If you liked these quotes, please buy and read the book here .

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    Notable Quotes
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    DAVID MAMET QUOTES

    American playwright and director (1947- )

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    David Mamet quote

    Show business is and has always been a depraved carnival.

    DAVID MAMET, True and False

    Don’t assume I’m dumb because I wear a suit and tie.

    DAVID MAMET, Edmond

    When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, "We’re all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world." If you’re not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.

    DAVID MAMET, Three Uses of the Knife

    When the gods would make us mad, they answer our prayers.

    DAVID MAMET, Speed-the-Plow

    The mind is a mill which can incessant turn, ’til its mere operation focus the stress inward and the stones grind themselves to dust.

    DAVID MAMET, Faustus

    The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong; that the bumblebee can fly; that, perhaps, one should never trust an expert; that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by those with an academic bent.

    DAVID MAMET, Writing in Restaurants

    When we fear things I think that we wish for them … every fear hides a wish.

    DAVID MAMET, Edmond

    All fears are one fear. Just the fear of death. And we accept it, then we are at peace.

    DAVID MAMET, Speed-the-Plow

    The most charming of theories holds that someone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays — that he was of too low a state, and of insufficient education. But where in the wide history of the world do we find art created by the excessively wealthy, powerful, or educated?

    DAVID MAMET, True and False

    No one enjoys being equal.

    DAVID MAMET, Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues

    We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder “censorship,” we call it “concern for commercial viability.”

    DAVID MAMET, Writing in Restaurants

    Many remark justice is blind; pity those in her sway, shocked to discover she is also deaf.

    DAVID MAMET, Faustus

    We all hope. It’s what keeps us alive.

    DAVID MAMET, Speed-the-Plow

    All of us. All of us. We’re doomed.

    DAVID MAMET, Edmond

    One can read all one wants, and spend eternities in front of a blackboard with a tutor, but one is not going to learn to swim until one gets in the water.

    DAVID MAMET, True and False

    Love. My golly, it sells diapers, don’t it!

    DAVID MAMET, Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues

    The avant-garde is to the left what jingoism is to the right. Both are a refuge in nonsense.

    DAVID MAMET, Three Uses of the Knife

    Here is a sovereign talisman against regret: never do that which might engender it.

    DAVID MAMET, Faustus

    You don’t know what life is. You know nothing.

    DAVID MAMET, Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues

    Blasphemy and prayer are one. Both assert the existence of a superior power. The first, however, with conviction.

    DAVID MAMET, Faustus

    The subject of drama is The Lie. At the end of the drama THE TRUTH — which has been overlooked, disregarded, scorned, and denied — prevails. And that is how we know the Drama is done.

    DAVID MAMET, Three Uses of the Knife

    Get into the scene late, get out of the scene early.

    DAVID MAMET, The Paris Review, spring 1997

    I examined my Liberalism and found it like an addiction to roulette. Here, though the odds are plain, and the certainty of loss apparent to anyone with a knowledge of arithmetic, the addict, failing time and again, is convinced he yet is graced with the power to contravene natural laws. The roulette addict, when he invariably comes to grief, does not examine either the nature of roulette, or of his delusion, but retires to develop a new system, and to scheme for more funds.

    DAVID MAMET, The Secret Knowledge

    We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.

    DAVID MAMET, Boston Marriage

    In playwriting, you’ve got to be able to write dialogue. And if you write enough of it and let it flow enough, you’ll probably come across something that will give you a key as to structure. I think the process of writing a play is working back and forth between the moment and the whole. The moment and the whole, the fluidity of the dialogue and the necessity of a strict construction. Letting one predominate for a while and coming back and fixing it so that eventually what you do, like a pastry chef, is frost your mistakes, if you can.

    DAVID MAMET, The Paris Review, spring 1997

    The greater the intellect, the more ease in its misdirection.

    DAVID MAMET, Faustus

    Society functions in a way much more interesting than the multiple-choice pattern we have been rewarded for succeeding at in school. Success in life comes not from the ability to choose between the four presented answers, but from the rather more difficult and painfully acquired ability to formulate the questions.

    DAVID MAMET, The Secret Knowledge

    Freud believed that our dreams sometimes recapitulate a speech, a comment we’ve heard or something that we’ve read. I always had compositions in my dreams. They would be a joke, a piece of a novel, a witticism or a piece of dialogue from a play, and I would dream them. I would actually express them line by line in the dream. Sometimes after waking up I would remember a snatch or two and write them down. There’s something in me that just wants to create dialogue.

    DAVID MAMET, The Paris Review, spring 1997

    The job of mass entertainment is to cajole, seduce and flatter consumers to let them know that what they thought was right is right, and that their tastes and their immediate gratification are of the utmost concern of the purveyor. The job of the artist, on the other hand, is to say, wait a second, to the contrary, everything that we have thought is wrong. Let’s reexamine it.

    DAVIE MAMET, Salon interview, 1997

    Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee’s for closers only.

    DAVID MAMET, Glengarry Glen Ross

    Browse David Mamet Quotes II

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