Author's note: This post was written before I became aware - because of publicity during the #MeToo movement - that Allen's adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow claims that Woody Allen sexually assaulted her when she was 7.
Allen has consistently denied the allegations of abuse and an evaluation team from Yale New Haven Hospital concluded that Allen had not sexually abused Dylan, but this conclusion was heavily criticised by other experts.
The New York judge in the Mia Farrow-Woody Allen child custody case ruled that, although he couldn’t be sure whether the sexual assault itself had occurred, “Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate.”
Woody Allen is nothing if not prolific. He works fast and consistently - averaging a film a year.
Despite the recurring theme of creative block in his films, Allen claims he never gets writer’s block, beginning writing the script for his next film the day after he finishes editing the last.
What is the secret to Allen's incessant creative productivity?
My guess is it comes down to three elements:
1. Make the work you want to make
One of the Triggers of Creative Block I talk about in my book Blast Your Creative Blocks is
Lack of passion towards our art...because deep down it’s not the work we want to make, but external pressures or misguided logic make us feel obliged to do it.
Allen's first experience of writing a movie script was for What's New Pussycat? in 1965.
Although the director - Clive Donner - was good, Allen felt the studio producing the film constantly interfered with his and Allen's vision, turning it into something far more slapstick than it need have been.
As a result, Allen swore he would never make a film that he couldn't have complete control over.
From that day on, Allen only made the work he was passionate about regardless whether the world liked or understood it.
The result is a career that spans 40 years during which, without courting mass popularity, he has received a plethora of awards including four Oscars, nine BAFTAs and two Golden Globes.
2. Infuse your work with your unique personal experience
It's no secret that Woody Allen includes his own life experiences in his scripts, endlessly playing out scenes from his Jewish upbringing in a tumultuous house in Brooklyn, as well as his later romantic (and somewhat questionable) relationships.
In fact the perils of writing too obviously from life is the main argument of the film the quote comes from, Deconstructing Harry (1997).
(The film stars Allen as a novelist Harry Block whose name is a double wordplay: Both names represent aspects of the character, who is blocked, and who is seen by many, and sometimes by himself, as Satan - popularly known as 'Old Harry'.)
It is this personal viewpoint - along with his self-deprecating, wry humour - that infuses Allen's characters with such touching, frail humanity.
Allen's love of music (he plays clarinet in a jazz band) also has a big influence on his work. Not only are his films characterised by their music but the the dialogue is as impeccably paced as a symphony.
3. When creative block looms, weave it into your work
Make peace with your demons…
Deconstructing Harry is not the only film of Allen's to focus on creative block.
Although Allen claims never to get blocked, it may be that he simply avoids its onset by working through it via the blocked characters in his films.
Although all of Allen's films are personal, the films which depict creative block may secretly be his most personal of all.
Keep creative block at bay - the Woody Allen way
So to keep creative block at bay you could do worse than take a leaf out of Woody Allen's book: