Screenwriter

A screenplay writer (also called screenwriter for short), scriptwriter or scenarist is a writer who practices the craft of screenwriting, writing screenplays on which mass media, such as films, television programs and video games, are based.

Screenplay example
A page of a screenplay

Profession

Screenwriting is a freelance profession. No education is required to become a professional screenwriter, just good storytelling abilities and imagination. Screenwriters are not hired employees but contracted freelancers. Most, if not all, screenwriters start their careers writing on speculation (spec) and so write without being hired or paid for it. If such a script is sold, it is called a spec script. What separates a professional screenwriter from an amateur screenwriter is that professional screenwriters are usually represented by a talent agency. Also, professional screenwriters do not often work for free, but amateur screenwriters will often work for free and are considered "writers in training." Spec scripts are usually penned by unknown professional screenwriters and amateur screenwriters.

There are a legion of would-be screenwriters who attempt to enter the film industry, but it often takes years of trial-and-error, failure, and gritty persistence to achieve success. In Writing Screenplays that Sell, Michael Hague writes, "Screenplays have become, for the last half of [the twentieth] century, what the Great American Novel was for the first half. Closet writers who used to dream of the glory of getting into print now dream of seeing their story on the big or small screen."[1]

Film industry

Every screenplay and teleplay begins with a thought or idea, and screenwriters use their ideas to write scripts, with the intention of selling them and having them produced.[2] In some cases, the script is based on an existing property, such as a book or person's life story, which is adapted by the screenwriter.[3] The majority of the time, a film project gets initiated by a screenwriter. The initiator of the project gets the exclusive writing assignment.[2] They are referred to as "exclusive" assignments or "pitched" assignments. Screenwriters who often pitch new projects, whether original or an adaptation, often do not have to worry about competing for assignments and are often more successful. When word is put out about a project a film studio, production company, or producer wants done, they are referred to as "open" assignments. Open assignments are more competitive. If screenwriters are competing for an open assignment, more-established writers usually win the assignments. A screenwriter can also be approached and personally offered a writing assignment.

Script doctoring

Many screenwriters also work as full or part-time script doctors, attempting to better a script to suit the desires of a director or studio. For instance, studio management may have a complaint that the motivations of the characters are unclear or that the dialogue is weak.

Script-doctoring can be quite lucrative, especially for the better-known writers. David Mamet and John Sayles, for instance, fund the movies that they direct themselves, usually from their own screenplays, by writing and doctoring scripts for others. In fact, some writers make very profitable careers out of being the ninth or tenth writer to work on a piece, and they often work on projects that never see exposure to an audience of any size. Many up-and-coming screenwriters also ghostwrite projects and allow more-established screenwriters to take public credit for the project to increase the chances of it getting picked up.

Development process

After a screenwriter finishes a project, he or she pairs with an industry-based representative, such as a producer, director, literary agent, entertainment lawyer, or entertainment executive. The partnerships often pitch their project to investors or others in a position to further a project. Once the script is sold, the writer has only the rights that were agreed with the purchaser.[2]

A screenwriter becomes credible by having work that is recognized, which gives the writer the opportunity to earn a higher income.[2] As more films are produced independently (outside the studio system), many up-and-coming screenwriters are turning to pitch fests, screenplay contests, and independent development services to gain access to established and credible independent producers. Many development executives are now working independently to incubate their own pet projects.

Production involvement

Screenwriters are rarely involved in the development of a film. Sometimes they come on as advisors, or if they are established, as a producer. Some screenwriters also direct. Although many scripts are sold each year, many do not make it into production because the number of scripts that are purchased every year exceeds the number of professional directors that are working in the film and TV industry. When a screenwriter finishes a project and sells it to a film studio, production company, TV network, or producer, he or she often has to continue networking, mainly with directors or executives, and push to have their projects "chosen" and turned into films or TV shows. If interest in a script begins to fade, a project can go dead.

Union

Most professional screenwriters in the U.S. are unionized and are represented by the Writers Guild of America. Although membership in the WGA is recommended, it is not required of a screenwriter to join. The WGA is the final arbiter on awarding writing credit for projects under its jurisdiction. The WGA also looks upon and verifies film copyright materials.

See also

References

  1. ^ Hauge, Michael. Writing Screenplays That Sell.
  2. ^ a b c d Ferguson, Brooks (17 April 2009). "Creativity and integrity: Marketing the "in development" screenplay". Psychology and Marketing. 26 (5): 421–444. doi:10.1002/mar.20281.
  3. ^ Biopic & Book Adaptation - http://www.screenwriterdude.com/biopic---book-adaptation.html

External links

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On the Roman calendar, this was known as the day before the nones of April (Latin: Prid. Non. Apr.).

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BlacKkKlansman is a 2018 American biographical crime film directed by Spike Lee and written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Lee, based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. The film stars John David Washington as Stallworth, along with Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. Set in 1970s Colorado Springs, the plot follows the first African-American detective in the city's police department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

The film is produced by Lee, Raymond Mansfield, Shaun Redick, Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, and Jordan Peele. Redick purchased the film rights to the book in 2015, and Lee signed on as director in September 2017. Much of the cast joined the following month, and filming began in New York State.

BlacKkKlansman premiered on May 14, 2018, at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. It was theatrically released in the United States on August 10, 2018, coinciding with the first anniversary of the white supremacist Unite the Right rally. The film received acclaim from critics, who praised the performances (particularly of Washington and Driver) and timely themes, as well as noting it as a return to form for Lee. It received six nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Lee's first directing nomination), and Best Supporting Actor for Driver, and won for Best Adapted Screenplay, making it Lee's first non-honorary Academy Award. The American Film Institute also selected it as one of the top 10 films of the 2018, and at the 76th Golden Globe Awards it earned four nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Christopher Lloyd (TV producer)

Christopher Lloyd (born November 12, 1960 in Los Angeles, California) is an American TV screenwriter and producer. Lloyd is co-creator and executive producer of the TV series Modern Family, which he produces with Steven Levitan. Prior to that, Lloyd had an extensive career on many series, primarily Frasier. He has won 12 Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on Modern Family and Frasier. He currently holds the record for winning the most Primetime Emmy awards as either a comedy or drama series producer.

Hollywood blacklist

The Hollywood blacklist was the popular term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist put in effect in the mid 20th century in the United States during the early part of the Cold War. The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Not just actors, but screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios. This was usually done on the basis of their membership, alleged membership in, or even just sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or on the basis of their refusal to assist congressional investigations into the party's activities. Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, from the late 1940s through to the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit or verifiable, but it quickly and directly damaged or ended the careers and income of scores of individuals working in the film industry.

Jonah Hill

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Hill ranked 28th on Forbes magazine's ranking of world's highest-paid actors from June 2014 to June 2015, bringing in $16 million. As a screenwriter, he contributed to the stories of 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, Sausage Party and Why Him?. In 2018, Hill starred in the Netflix dark comedy miniseries Maniac and made his directorial debut with the film Mid90s, from his own screenplay.

Kader Khan

Kader Khan (Pashto: قادر خان‎ Qâder Xân; 22 October 1937 – 31 December 2018) was an Afghan-born Indian-Canadian film actor, screenwriter, comedian, and director. As an actor, he appeared in over 300 films after his debut film in the 1973 film Daag, starring Rajesh Khanna, in which he acted as a prosecuting attorney. He was also a prolific screenwriter for Bollywood films in the period 1970s to 1999 and wrote dialogues for 200 films. Khan graduated from Ismail Yusuf College affiliated to Bombay University. Before entering the film industry in the early 1970s, he taught at M. H. Saboo Siddik College of Engineering, Mumbai, as a professor of Civil Engineering.

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Screenwriting

Screenwriting, also called scriptwriting, is the art and craft of writing scripts for mass media such as feature films, television productions or video games. It is often a freelance profession.

Screenwriters are responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative, writing the script, screenplay, dialogues and delivering it, in the required format, to development executives. Screenwriters therefore have great influence over the creative direction and emotional impact of the screenplay and, arguably, of the finished film. Screenwriters either pitch original ideas to producers, in the hope that they will be optioned or sold; or are commissioned by a producer to create a screenplay from a concept, true story, existing screen work or literary work, such as a novel, poem, play, comic book, or short story.

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Thomas Patrick Lennon (born August 9, 1970) is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, director and novelist. As an actor he is best known for his work as a cast member on MTV's The State, for his role as Lieutenant Jim Dangle on the Comedy Central series Reno 911! and as Felix Unger on the CBS series The Odd Couple. Lennon is also an accomplished screenwriter of several major studio comedies with writing partner Robert Ben Garant. Their films include comedies such as the Night at the Museum films, The Pacifier, Balls of Fury, and Baywatch.

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