Digital Rules! How Screenwriting Has Changed - Raindance

Great storytelling continues to influences our lives. Since childhood, we were told amazing stories that had little roots in reality and more in fantasy and while we may have grown up, our love for storytelling remains the same. Due to this, people crave a compelling storytelling format from modern screenwriters when it comes to TV series. 

The modern screenwriters craft narratives that are laced with the right amount of suspense and thrill element to keep the audience on the edge. A little balance achieved by amalgamating complex characters with ordinary settings or the other way around is what TV screenwriters are good at! However, this trend is slowly losing its focus when it comes to traditional Hollywood.  

Screenwriting and Traditional TV

Avoiding the mentioning of screenwriters during the acceptance speeches is becoming a trend. While screenwriters are still contributing towards the making of modern films, they are not receiving the fair share of recognition they once received.  

Movies in its traditional form are losing touch with the screenwriting process, with many directors or cast members taking on the role of producing a story. That is the case with top-performing movies such as Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy since their directors did the writing job. Although these movies proved themselves to be a visual treat they did an underwhelming job in creating a solid narrative. Of course, you do not expect a raccoon to speak eloquently in space or want an astronaut to focus more on dialogues than action. 

The current generation’s demand to have fast-paced action movies is making the art of screenwriting obsolete.

Enter Netflix, Amazon, and many other famous online streaming services! 

Digital Transformations Pushing the Boundaries 

While movie watchers are content with thrillers or action-packed superhero flicks, their appetite to have good storytelling mode with the right amount of suspense, well-developed characters, and strong background is slowly growing when it comes to TV shows.

Previously, screenwriters were told to keep the stories simple and their characters uncomplicated since the audience would not be able to catch up. However, with new digital transformations in ways of how we consume TV, screenwriters are now making their stories complex and their characters multifaceted to satisfy their audience. 

This sudden change is due to the mass consumption of TV and also because of the advent of online streaming services. Now, the people are willing to catch up, i.e. if they watch certain parts of any serial and are curious about the back story, they will not only watch the previous episode but will also watch the entire previous seasons to get an understanding of what is happening. 

Thanks to the advent of online streaming, viewers can do so without having to sit through advertisements. But while online streaming has made TV viewing easier than the traditional mediums, the unrelenting competition and the rise of various other streaming services will make it hard to view shows in economical ways. This is due to the fact that one streaming service would try to trump others by offering exclusive or premium access to high paying members and so on. 

This type of scenario is a matter of concern for the viewers but for the screenwriters, this presents a massive opportunity in a time where their roles are being eliminated from the film industry. In a world that is marred with remakes and live-action Disney movies, more and more individuals are demanding original content; one that has everything in balance to create a gripping narrative. 

Online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are not only investing in original content but they are also buying out original series from TV broadcasters. Take the example of Black Mirror, it started on the British telly and made its way to Netflix when it started to show real potential. The point is, the need to have original content has opened doors for screenwriters or ordinary writers that have a passion and intellect to create original pieces. Subjects that were once considered boring, out-of-touch of reality, or controversial are being turned into gripping series thanks to the number of opportunities that the writers are getting at this stage. 

This brings with it a new type of storytelling freedom where the writers do not have to create content a certain way or edit their content according to the network producers to please them. On the other hand, it also provides amateurs or professional writers with a chance to pour out their hearts and create masterpieces that will be equally appreciated by everyone. 

Of course, you must be thinking that this kind of freedom may turn the TV into a nightmare that is crowded with cheaply produced content with weak plot lines. Although, there are various platforms where one can produce, edit, and upload original content, be assured that only the top-class content will make it to the streaming networks. On the flip side, amateurs can hire unknowns to play out their stories and upload the content to YouTube or Vimeo. If it is good, then Netflix or any other streaming service will buy it and if it fails to impress the streaming giants, then at least you can have a small fan base that relates to your content.  

Where Hollywood is relying on directors to captivate the audience through their unique storytelling skills, the easy availability of upload mediums or streaming giants has brought back the creative control to the person that matters, i.e. the screenwriter! 

Final thoughts 

Live streaming, YouTube, and streaming networks; all of them have made it possible for the screenwriters to narrate a story that depends less on visual elements and more on characters and story development. While Hollywood may be depending less and less on screenwriters, the changes in the way we consume TV entertainment has provided this dwindling industry with a chance to reestablish themselves. Not only this, but the streaming networks and our needs for original yet interesting content are opening doors for amateurs and professionals alike to deliver content the way consumers like it. 

They do not say content is king for no reason at all! Nothing can beat the intricate stories constructed on a fast-paced narrative created by screenwriters or just writers in general. If you can get a little more creative, you can use the same tools to sponsor goods or promote your services/products without relying on traditional digital marketing services. The opportunities are endless; it only depends on how well you utilise every single one.



Arslan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.