Many movie lovers just know when they’re watching a Richard Linklater film. For the past thirty years, the writer and director has honed his singular craft by making thoughtful, emotional films that speak universally to the human condition. One tell-tale component to his work is the screenwriting. Linklater is a master at generating visceral dialogue, and though his productions are financially modest, he always writes characters and stories that are rich with emotional depth and genuine humanity. Beginning with 1990’s Slacker, Linklater essentially kicked off a movement that would transform American independent cinema, and his unorthodox narrative approach (the “Before” trilogy and Boyhood both take place over several years, for example) cements his status as a true screenwriting innovator. He’s certainly not without critics, but they are only a further testament to the creative risks he is willing to take as a writer. In the latest installment of our series on screenwriting, Between the Lines, dive in and explore how the Texas-born director finds a way to connect with audiences everywhere.

Be sure to check out our previous episode of “Between the Lines,” in which we discuss the mind-bending work of Charlie Kaufman. For more on different approaches to storytelling, you can watch our videos on the films of Mel Brooks, and our breakdown of the “Blade Runner” screenplay. And if you want to learn about other celebrated filmmakers, take a look at our recent videos on Wong Kar-wai, Vittorio De Sica, and Claude Chabrol, or enter our film library and browse our spotlight on other fearless directors.