One of the downsides of money is if there's no money, there are very few real jerks who are attached to your project. And if there is money, you do attract some very difficult, unhelpful people.

My theory in the '90s was that I didn't want to take a Jane Austen book I loved and reduce it to a 90-minute movie. The Emma Thompson-Ang Lee 'Sense and Sensibility' was beautiful, but other ones, I didn't think justice was being done. It's not a slam dunk to adapt these books.

I don't like the word 'perfectionist,' because it's self-flattering. It's tooting your own horn and implies that you actually can achieve perfection. I prefer 'particularist.'

I feel that if you want to make films, you have to be willing to make it without a fee. You get a deferment, I guess.

My biggest false steps have actually been when I tried to do very different projects. I found I was getting people saying, 'Why does Whit Stillman think he can do a film about blacks in early '60s Jamaica? Or the Chinese and the cultural revolution?' Those were the two biggest failures I had getting off the ground.

Sometimes, people who are very fastidious about what they're going to do in their work are not very fastidious in their private life. I'm like that. I love it when people do really nice things around me, but I don't have time to do it for myself. It's very hard for me to even buy a new pair of trousers.

I really like the short stories that Melissa Bank writes. I think she's sort of channeling the female version of J.D. Salinger in more recent days.

Happy is the small business that can hire additional employees besides the proprietor; rare is the indie-film enterprise that can be happy in this way. The norm is an unpaid principal with no employees between productions.

Oscar Wilde was sort of my first love as a young reader. And then I went on to love Jane Austen's wonderful - this sort of comedy coming from her. I mean, all of her books are comic.

There's certain key dance crazes that are just so much fun - wouldn't that be a great thing to do, to invent a dance?

I don't think you change from the time you're 16 until you die. Maybe your body changes, and you have different experiences, but I think you become a fully conscious soul with full abilities. Souls are eternal, and if you keep your marbles until you croak in your 90s or your 100s, you're the same.

When you're trying to force things in a script, it seems like it's getting somewhere, but it isn't real or interesting. All the bad material you've written becomes an albatross around your neck. So I really don't like writing a lot of bad stuff, I prefer to just keep narrowing it down to stuff I think is solid.

I read one Jane Austen in college and didn't like it at all and told everyone how much I disliked it. I read 'Northanger Abbey' sophomore year in college and hated it. I didn't read good Austen until after college, maybe a couple years out.

Some critic complained about how many small films are released in New York... it annoyed me. Those small films that are lucky to get two weeks are often my favorite films of the year.

A very sad moment for me was when my parents separated - a lot of crying, 'It's tragic, we're now a broken family, blah blah blah blah blah' - although my psychological problems stopped. I actually felt healthier.

The usual key to getting films made seems to be a producer's terrier-like determination not to let it go. Unfortunately, such producers often seem prone to sinking their claws into mediocre projects.

I fell for a Spanish woman and followed her to Spain. We got married there, and then I got involved in the Spanish film industry and got the material for 'Barcelona.' It was my way of breaking into the film industry.

There's something really admirable about French culture and an attraction in how independent it is from our own. So, it's odd that in other countries that are very American-influenced - who seem to care more about the Oscars than anyone here does - there's both anti-Americanism and also too much America.

If you're mostly a writer - if your point of departure is writing something - which for a writer/director is sort of where you start, you're really influenced by the writers you love one way or another.

So much of selling a film in the industry is about creating a fulcrum where all the pressure comes to bear, and something seems suddenly valuable and approved by an audience. It's amazing how people could pick up tons of films on the cheap, but they don't because they wait until everything is laid out for them.

It's a challenge for any writer to write beyond what he knows. You get material, adapt it, and do the best you can with it.

When you're doing the work, film and TV are exactly the same. TV is just film in reduced pieces.

I love writing novels, but I'm very fearful about writing something from absolute scratch. I kind of don't have the time to write something from scratch. I think when my knees completely give out, and I can't make films anymore, I would try to write novels from scratch.

I've learned that I really want to shoot short films on a short schedule. There can be very good films that run 110 minutes, but 90 minutes is beautiful.

It's intimidating for guys to hear women complain about their boyfriends. Guys imagine that girls are thrilled to have them around, and this is what they really talk about.

I have to embrace the fact people find me divisive, but I find it remarkable. I was very disturbed by the hatred 'Damsels in Distress' received.

Before, I was writing a script to make a movie. At a certain point, I became A Writer in Film and Television. So I got TV deals to write stuff, film deals to write stuff. But it's dangerous. I got into the WGA, and I became kind of, you know, a slave! They just pay you to write a script, and it's hard to make the movies.

At the New York Harvard Club, they've moved the memorial for those who died in World Wars I and II up to an obscure little hallway; they used to be in the main hall, in the most prominent location. The sacrifice of those young people I always found so stunning and so admirable.

Coming out of college, back to New York, where I didn't really know that many people, I thought our world was very atomized.

I remember when I was trying to do 'Metropolitan,' in breaks I would read a page of two of Jane Austen as a palate-cleanser.

I remember trying to write at 1, 1:30 A.M., and just sort of falling asleep. And I think that was actually a good creative state for weird ideas. I shifted to a morning schedule once I had two kids, and I still found that if I slept badly, I actually had better ideas.

My whole career, only one person has stepped up to back me. All these people say they like your films. They say this and they say that, but no one actually does anything.

There's so much of this thing now, where you're supposed to do all the work before you get the commission. I think it's really good to try to resist that. If you just have a week to come up with a pitch for something, your ideas aren't going to be very good. Get your income from somewhere else, and keep your writing not tied into these contracts.

When people are telling stories on screen, you can show the reactions of people, play it off those reactions, and it can be fun. But when it's someone just giving an opinion on things, even if the opinion is kind of interesting, that is potentially deadly. It has to be really quick.

What I find remarkable is that so much of the 18th century literature that I read is more accessible than reading your alternative weekly from ten years ago. People really aspired to write clearly.

Really, having a show freely available online is like having your book in the library. It's wonderful; it's ideal.

I don't think there's anything cliche feminine about Jane Austen. And, anyway, her earliest champions were Sir Walter Scott and the Prince Regent.

There are bad preppies and bad priests and bad humanitarians. Any group can have its bad apple.

There's the right person, or right people, for each other. There is that order that's searching to be found but, I think, it's not as if everything is going to be automatic. So, people could really be meant for each other and its goes awry; or they could have to learn or develop and grow up together. Grow to be right together.

A brief experience with a Radcliffe girl got very bad very quickly. I was so destroyed by it that I left and went to Mexico for a semester, where I have cousins. I learned how to speak Spanish, which was really important for my life. It was wonderful going to Mexico, learning another culture and a language.

I think that, in terms of mainstream storytelling, the rebel gets off way too easy. We're way too hard on the insiders and way too soft on the outsiders.

I think sometimes it's the things you don't like that give you inspiration.

Oddly, in a sense, I still have more confidence as a director than my ability as a writer. Somehow, directing is just really easy. It's just about being really honest about how you feel about what you're seeing.

In Mexico, wealth and poverty live next to each other and are cordial with each other - in my experience.

I'm very troubled when editors oblige their film critics to read the novel before they see the film. Reading the book right before you see the film will almost certainly ruin the film for you.

The 'Damsels' crew was low-budget, young people who were doing their first thing almost. A lot of it. It felt like Pied Piper or Rumpelstiltskin or whatever: it was me and people thirty years younger or more. But it was great; it was really fun.

I like to allow a story to arise as I'm writing scripts. I find it horrible when I try to think of something for the plot without really being on the ground and seeing where it goes.

I think when my parents were together, my family was too prosperous for our psychological health. Not that they were that rich, but I feel that usually inherited wealth causes psychological problems.

I kind of put people from the past up on a pedestal; I don't think, in a lot of ways, that we're at their level.