John Sayles

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John Thomas Sayles (born September 28, 1950) is an American independent film director and screenwriter.


Early life

Sayles was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Mary (née Rausch), a teacher, and Donald John Sayles, a school administrator.[1] He was raised Catholic and took to labeling himself "a Catholic atheist".[citation needed] Both of Sayles's parents were of half-Irish descent.[2]

He attended Williams College, where a small incident provided an inkling as to his future career. In 1972, while participating in the school's semiannual trivia contest, Sayles's team was tied with another after eight hours, forcing the game's first sudden death overtime. Sayles was able to cite a particular line of dialogue from the 1960 film The Time Machine to clinch the championship.[citation needed]


Like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, among others, Sayles began his film career working with Roger Corman. Sayles went on to fund his first film, Return of the Secaucus 7, with $30,000 he had in the bank from writing scripts for Corman.[citation needed] He set the film in a large house so that he did not have to travel to or get permits for different locations, set it over a three-day weekend to limit costume changes, and wrote about people his age so that he could have his friends act in it.

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