Famous Quotes & Sayings

David Mamet Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by David Mamet.

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David Mamet Quotes 817592

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

David Mamet Quotes 1785165

Luck, if there is such a thing, is either going to favor everyone equally or going to exhibit a preference for the prepared. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 337026

They say the definition of ambivalence is watching your mother-in-law drive over a cliff in your new Cadillac. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 2179798

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

David Mamet Quotes 1706604

Life in the movie business is like the beginning of a new love affair: it's full of surprises, and you're constantly getting fucked. — David Mamet

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Invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up, stand up, stay out of school. — David Mamet

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It's hard for a Jew of my generation, an American Jew, who is philo-Zionistic, not to romanticize Israel. — David Mamet

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Art and mass entertainment and propaganda, they can all be plotted on the same graph, but there is a difference. — David Mamet

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I'm not the guy to ask about politics. I'm a gag writer. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 445705

The secret knowledge is there's nobody home but us chickens. The Constitution was written by a bunch of regular guys who tried to get together and thrash out a contract under which they could get together that would keep people together. — David Mamet

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Culture exists and evolves to relegate to habit categories of interactions the constant conscious reference to which would make human interaction impossible. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 228381

I won't ever do e-mail. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 2209247

The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 104647

There's something in me that just wants to create dialogue. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 154222

Let the cut tell the story. Otherwise you have not got dramatic action, you've got narration. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 386002

We Americans have always considered Hollywood, at best, a sinkhole of depraved venality. And, of course, it is. It is not a protective monastery of aesthetic truth. It is a place where everything is incredibly expensive. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 2196762

What we're trying to do is find two or more shots the juxtaposition of which will give us the idea. — David Mamet

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I'm not an ascetic. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1466697

FAUSTUS. To have fooled the philosopher.
MAGUS. One finds, in my profession, sir, the greater the intellect, the more ease in its misdirection.
FAUSTUS. One finds the same in mine. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 617460

don't call your wife baby — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 75783

Movies were never an art form, they were entertainment. It just evolved into an art form from there, and it's still evolving in different ways. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 81082

Films have degenerated to their original operation as carnival amusement - they offer not drama but thrills. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 81416

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

David Mamet Quotes 84649

I'm afraid of only two things: being lazy and being cowardly. I get up early in the morning and go to work. I love to write. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 151133

Many players will not improve because they cannot bear self-knowledge. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 326241

The pursuit of Fashion is the attempt of the middle class to co-opt tragedy. In adopting the clothing, speech, and personal habits of those in straitened, dangerous, or pitiful circumstances, the middle class seeks to have what it feels to be the exigent and nonequivocal experiences had by those it emulates. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 336136

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

David Mamet Quotes 382569

When we leave the play saying how spectacular the sets or costumes were, or how interesting the ideas, it means we had a bad time. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 389612

Marijuana, for example, won't help one determine the correct aspect ratio ... — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 441575

Acting is not a genteel profession. Actors used to be buried at a crossroads with a stake through the heart. Those people's performances so troubled the onlookers that they feared their ghosts. An awesome compliment. Those players moved the audience not such that they were admitted to a school, or received a complimentary review, but such that the audience feared for their soul. Now that seems to me something to aim for. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 454469

A stage play is basically a form of uber-schizophrenia. You split yourself into two minds - one being the protagonist and the other being the antagonist. The playwright also splits himself into two other minds: the mind of the writer and the mind of the audience. — David Mamet

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I don't think there's any information to be gotten from television. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 478978

All drama is about lies. All drama is about something that's hidden. A drama starts because a situation becomes imbalanced by a lie. The lie may be something we tell each other or something we think about ourselves, but the lie imbalances a situation. If you're cheating on your wife the repression of that puts things out of balance; or if you're someone you think you're not, and you think you should be further ahead in your job, that neurotic vision takes over your life and you're plagued by it until you're cleansed. At the end of a play the lie is revealed. The better the play the more surprising and inevitable the lie is. Aristotle told us this — David Mamet

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It's called a confidence game. Why? Because you give me your confidence? No. Because I give you mine. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 515736

President Obama seems to understand the Constitution as a 'set of suggestions.' — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 591207

Accepted nowhere, belonging nowhere, The Human Ant is forced to roam the world, half-ant, half-cow. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 608879

The basis of drama is ... is the struggle of the hero towards a specific goal at the end of which he realizes that what kept him from it was, in the lesser drama, civilization and, in the great drama, the discovery of something that he did not set out to discover but which can be seen retrospectively as inevitable. The example Aristotle uses, of course, is Oedipus. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 631476

JOHN: You said "Good day." I think that it is a nice day today.
CAROL: Is it?
JOHN: Yes, I think it is.
CAROL: And why is that important?
JOHN: Because it is the essence of all human communication. I say something
conventional, you respond, and the information we exchange is not about the
"weather," but that we both agree to converse. In effect, we agree that we are both
human. — David Mamet

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If I could go back would I do it differently? Well, I can't go back. — David Mamet

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A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 744943

I always thought the real violence in Hollywood isn't what's on the screen. It's what you have to do to raise the money. — David Mamet

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You can't write about history without writing about politics at some point. History is about movements of people. 'What is criminality and what is government' is a theme that runs through every history. — David Mamet

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I'm responding to the will of the people. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 795082

A novel it's different. It's kind of exhilarating not to have to cut to the bone constantly. Oh, well I can go over here for a moment. I can say what I think the guy was thinking or what the day looked like or what the bird was doing. If you do that as a playwright, you're dead. — David Mamet

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I love all insider memoirs. It doesn't matter whether it's truck-drivers or doctors. I think everybody likes to go backstage, find out what people think and what they talk about and what specialised job they have. — David Mamet

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I don't have any experience with film schools. I suspect that they're useless, because I've had experience with drama schools, and have found them to be useless. — David Mamet

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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. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 882832

In practice we, in the world, must do business with each other. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 938957

The basis of drama is ... the struggle of the hero towards a specific goal at the end of which he realises that what kept him from it was, in the lesser drama, civilisation and, in the great drama, the discovery of something that he did not set out to discover but which can be seen retrospectively as inevitable. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 951780

They were and are children of privilege ... the privilege taught, learned, and imbibed, in a "liberal arts education" is the privilege to indict. These children have, in the main, never worked, learned to obey, command, construct, amend, or complete - to actually contribute to the society. They have learned to be shrill, and that their indictment, on the economy, on sex, on race, on the environment, though based on no experience other than hearsay, must trump any discourse, let alone opposition. It occurred to me that I had seen this behavior elsewhere, where it was called developmental difficulty. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 952516

How was her crumbcake?
oh.. from the store ...
... — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1009258

The audience requires not information but drama. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1081229

Always tell the truth - it's the easiest thing to remember. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1133647

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

David Mamet Quotes 1138207

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

David Mamet Quotes 1167337

It's hard to write a good play because it's hard to structure a plot. If you can think of it off the top of your head, so can the audience. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1172526

You get rich through luck. You get rich through crime. You get rich through fulfilling the needs of another. You can be as greedy as you like. If you can't do one of those three things, you ain't going to get any money. — David Mamet

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Policemen so cherish their status as keepers of the peace and protectors of the public that they have occasionally been known to beat to death those citizens or groups who question that status. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1187255

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. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1198734

I pray you indulge me for a space, for I am going to set out on a speech which may have some duration, but whose theme may be gleaned from its opening phrase: how dare you. — David Mamet

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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

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

David Mamet Quotes 1303385

The work of the director is the work of constructing the shot list from the script. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1393377

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

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Make the audience wonder what's going on by putting them in the same position as the protagonist. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1453055

My dad, may he rest in
peace, taught me many wonderful things. And one of the things he taught me was never ask a guy what you do for a living.
He said "If you think about it, when you ask a guy, what do you do you do for a living," you're saying "how may I gauge the rest of your utterances." are you smarter than I am? Are you richer than I am, poorer than I am?"
So you ask a guy what do you do for a living, it's the same thing as
asking a guy, let me know what your politics are before I listen to you so
I know whether or not you're part of my herd, in which case I can nod
knowingly, or part of the other herd, in which case I can wish you dead. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1521704

If You can't tell it to me in one sentence, they can't put it in TV Guide. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1544062

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

David Mamet Quotes 1559947

There's nothing in the world more silent than the telephone the morning after everybody pans your play. It won't ring from room service; your mother won't be calling you. If the phone has not rung by 8 in the morning, you're dead. — David Mamet

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My greatest fear is that the audience will beat me to the punch line. — David Mamet

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I was fortunate enough to have a rambling youth. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1778173

Cultivate a love of skill. Learn theatrical skills. They will give you continual pleasure, self-confidence, and link you to fifty thousand years of the history of our profession. — David Mamet

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Always be closing. — David Mamet

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The Israelis would like to live in peace within their borders; the Arabs would like to kill them all. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1858952

The first amendment ensures not that speech will be fair, but that it will be free. It cannot be both. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1874617

Being a writer in Hollywood is like going to Hitler's Eagle Nest with a great idea for a bar mitzvah. — David Mamet

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[I]n the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms. — David Mamet

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There is no such thing as character other than the habitual action, as Mr. Aristotle told us two thousand years ago. — David Mamet

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My motto is "Be Prepared." I am told this is also the motto of the Boy Scouts, but, if so, this only proves that they were acting according to my motto earlier than I. — David Mamet

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The images in a dream are vastly varied and magnificently interesting. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1912905

The surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle. Let's think about what's the whole battle. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 1930899

Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee's for closers only. — David Mamet

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People only speak to get something. — David Mamet

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As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. — David Mamet

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"Based on a true story" is a come-on, the aesthetic equivalent of "no loan request refused." For, at best, the creator has fashioned a film based on his understanding of, interpretation of, and reduction of the report of an actual occurrence. — David Mamet

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The leaf of the camomile, parboiled in water, conduces to calm. And yet I do not worship it. — David Mamet

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In a restaurant one is both observed and unobserved. Joy and sorrow can be displayed and observed "unwittingly," the writer scowling naively and the diners wondering, What the hell is he doing? — David Mamet

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I like Bach. I like Randy Newman. — David Mamet

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Almost all movie scripts contain material that cannot be filmed. — David Mamet

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It's upsetting to be a man in our society. — David Mamet

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I tend to write a lot, which I think is the secret to being prolific. — David Mamet

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The pain of losing is diverting. So is the thrill of winning. Winning, however, is lonelier, as those you've won money from are not likely to commiserate with you. Winning takes getting used to. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 2156932

The realization that I came to is that each citizen for himself or herself understands the economics, which is, "I better make more than I spend and I better put something aside for a rainy day, and I want to get a good idea about what to do with the surplus so that perhaps it can grow while I'm sleeping." And that that's capitalism. Everybody practices it, but half of the country - those on the left - deny that it's true. — David Mamet

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There's no such thing as talent; you just have to work hard enough. — David Mamet

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I love the British. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 2230584

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

David Mamet Quotes 2231509

The so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant. The guns it supposedly banned have been illegal for 78 years. Did the ban make them 'more' illegal? The ban addresses only the appearance of weapons, not their operation. — David Mamet

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The man had been the head of the postwar European operation called Aliyah Bet, the clandestine resettlement of the Jewish remnant of the Holocaust in Palestine. He had come to this position as a senior member of the Palmach, the fighting arm of the Haganah, which was the underground Jewish Army in Palestine, under the British Mandate. — David Mamet

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The greater the intellect, the more ease in its misdirection. — David Mamet

David Mamet Quotes 2266088

Writers are asked, 'How could you know so much about [fill in the profession]?' The answer, if the writing satisfies, is that one makes it up. And the job, my job, as a dramatist, was not to write accurately, but to write persuasively. If and when I do my job well, subsequent cowboys, as it were, will talk like me. — David Mamet