the art and craft of screenwriting
Film is a collaborative medium. At its best, it can be like an architectural masterpiece, the product of a thousand inspired choices by a team of inspired artists all working toward the same goal: to make something beautiful that will stand the test of time. At its worst, it is art by committee; disjointed, poorly constructed, aesthetically dead.
But like a great work of architecture, a great film begins with a blueprint: the script. A script is, or should be, lyrical, textured, multi-layered and beautiful. It is a literary genre, standing somewhere between poetry and the novel, as economical in its expression as it is detailed in its narrative. But it is also, or should be, structured and standardized, stripped down to the essentials. It may be a literary genre, but it is also a technical document, a schematic, providing a framework for other artists to build upon.
If done well, a great script is a joy to read. But it has to be more than that. A great script has to attract great collaborators. In some ways, that's its primary function. Whether it's a seasoned producer, a first-time director, an A-list actor, or just a group of friends with a decent camera and few hundred bucks, they're all looking for a story they can rally around, a common purpose. Your job as a writer is to give them that purpose.
Sounds simple enough. Of course, most of us have a script in the drawer that belies that assumption. If that's true of you, I can say two things about you. 1.) You're not alone. 2.) You've already done the hardest part, putting words on the page. But if you're convinced you have a story to tell and it can only be told in this medium, I'd like to help.