Before Sunrise Co-Creator And Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter Is Making Her UCLA-Level Class Available Online [Exclusive]

Kim Krizan may not have the same level of instant name recognition as Richard Linklater, her co-screenwriter and the director of "Before Sunrise" (which has maintained a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes over the years). Yet she and her life experiences were integral to the formation of what has become one of the most beloved, critically well-regarded film trilogies of all time.

Krizan received Academy Award and Writer's Guild of America (WGA) Award nominations for the sequel, "Before Sunset," which continued the story inspired by her personal adventures train-traveling through Europe. Her screen history with Linklater predates both installments, which star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. In 1993 Krizan appeared as Ginny Stroud in "Dazed and Confused," best remembered for the line:

"Okay guys, one more thing—this summer when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes."

Krizan has taught at UCLA and other institutions in Los Angeles, and she's about to bring her writing class, "The Magic Hour with Kim Krizan," online to Patreon sponsors. In a way, this brings her full circle to another scene she penned in "Waking Life," twenty years ago. The scene in question, which you can see below, has a rotoscoped version of Krizan talking about the "desire to transcend isolation." That's something that many of us have felt more acutely during the pandemic while keeping socially distanced and self-isolating.

"The Inner Journey"

In "Waking Life," Krizan talks about forging "some sort of connection with one another" amid the ethereal emotions of human experience. The film's protagonist, played by Wiley Wiggins, encounters her talking head as he floats through a waking dream. He sits and listens to her attentively as she offers insights about the origin of human language. She says: 

"When it really gets interesting, I think, is when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we're experiencing."

This is self-expression and the art of narrative, which Krizan has helped aspiring writers cultivate in person for years. If you are such a writer, or even an established one who just needs a refresher and wants to continue honing your craft, "The Magic Hour with Kim Krizan" aims to deliver a course that will take you on a journey inward. She told /Film:

"I really believe in the inner journey. I believe in looking inside. It's best to quiet down so as to access the subconscious, so this is something we really work on in my writing classes. My students find that they love being given permission to go inside, because there's a universe to explore in there. The writer can observe his or her mind and thoughts, almost like an anthropologist or a sociologist, and feel fascinated and thrilled with their findings. The subconscious is smarter than the conscious mind, so contacting it is something my writing exercises are designed to do — and I find that the students love that."

"Plunge a Little More Deeply"

The "Before Sunrise" trilogy has a certain travelogue aspect to it. It is famous for its dialogue-focused walk-and-talks and ride-along scenes, which keep the picture and the characters in motion with their mouths. Collectively, the films take the viewer to Vienna, Paris, and Greece, three great cities of the world.

All these years later, Krizan still appreciates travel. She had this to say on that subject:

"Of course we can't forget the value of travel and of walking through a foreign city. When we are in a completely new environment, we feel so alive and the thoughts really fire. This pandemic, while frustrating, forces us to plunge a little more deeply."

Given that the world's citizens, even Tokyoites like myself, have been less mobile, living more vicariously, since 2020, I was curious to hear how someone as well-traveled as Krizan has adjusted to life under lockdown. With people going places online or in their head more over the last two years, I asked her what kind of trip she hopes to give students through her writing class. She said:

"I think this lockdown has given us the opportunity to really explore our memories, our feelings, our goals for our future. I hope that writers and aspiring writers have been keeping journals and examining the thoughts that float up. And of course I hope that my new writing class on Patreon will be something they like!"

The Magic Hour with Kim Krizan

One of the few film series to receive the same level of universal acclaim as the "Before Sunrise" trilogy is Pixar's "Toy Story" series. Screenwriter Stephany Folsom — who co-wrote "Toy Story 4" and is now working on Amazon's "Lord of the Rings" streaming series — is one of the names who vouches for Krizan. She has said, "Kim gives practical and insightful advice that will carry you through the ups and downs of a writer's journey."

Krizan's bio notes that her Master's Thesis augured the psychology of creativity. She's the author of the books, "Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale" and "Spy in the House of Anais Nin." Now, she's offering her trade secrets online. "The Magic Hour with Kim Krizan" is an instructional video series "designed to inspire writers, exploring the organic experience of connecting with the creative subconscious so as to discover the narrative within."

One silver lining to artisans of the screen trade working more remotely since 2020 has been the influx of podcasts and other content from creative people who might otherwise be out busy storytelling, had not the world come to a stop or slowed down a little for us all. Referring to Delpy's character in the "Before Sunrise" trilogy, some have called Krizan "the real Celine."

With "The Magic Hour," she's ready to make the accumulated wisdom of her writing experiences and travels, both outer and inner ones, available at your fingerprints.