On Monday 26 September 2011 on very rainy London night, Mexican screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga spoke to a packed theatre at the BFI as part of this year's BAFTA Screenwriters' Lecture Series.
Arriaga came to screenwriting relatively late in life, having been a university teacher and novelist before meeting his collaborator Alejandro González Iñárritu, with whom he made some of his better-known films - Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel. His work is famous for utilising a fragmentary, non-linear approach to plot, which contributed to Amores Perros' winning a BAFTA Film Award in 2000.
The first rule of screenwriting, or any art, is having no rules.
The video of the lecture - available to watch now on BAFTA Guru - features Arriaga explaining how stories from his Mexican upbringing inform his screenplays, and urging writers to be authentic and honest while repudiating conventional notions of 'rules'. He uses a selection of clips from his work to illustrate his ideas.