Screenwriting, which is commonly known as scriptwriting, is the art and craft of writing scripts. It is different from other forms of writing as it targets the media launching projects, such as feature films, video games, documentaries, and different television productions. The modern definition includes the usage of technological tools, such as apps and technical equipment, to enhance the screenwriting process.
Screenwriting- The Basics
It is not wrong to say that screenwriters are the most influential part of the overall production team. As I was watching a TV series on my contour TV, I realised that most of the viewers (including me) are just concerned with the final output of a production, often neglecting how much effort went into giving it the final look that we enjoy so much.
It is not easy to write a good story. Screenwriters do the job of researching the story, developing a plot, writing the dialogues for the characters, and the way they deliver it. They also have to mention the required format, how and where the scenes must be executed, and character specifications.
Screenwriters come up with original ideas and pitch them to the producers, which are then taken in as an option. Some agents’ commissions different scripts to producers, too. Sometimes, screenwriters rewrite scripts on existing literary works, such as a novel, a play, or a book. Remaking old movie scripts is also a popular trend these days.
Technology- the Definition
Technology is the science of craft. It is the total number of techniques, methods, skills, and processes used in the making of goods, or the providence of services. It is also defined as a method of using scientific advancements, such as machines or systems, to obtain a certain goal. We can also modify technology to obtain certain required results in a specific project.
Screenwriting and Technology- Where do these Two Merge
So, the art and craft of screenwriting and the added technology give rise to a question: Where do these two merge? The past saw no such amalgamation, except the essential technical side of developing and processing required in the media industry. But the present is witnessing many such group ventures, and the result is a very refined cinematic and visual experience.
Let’s discuss what these two can offer when together! And what more can we expect from a combined future of technology and screenwriting?
Screenplays that Talk!
As we have discussed before, screenwriting software has gone through the process of evolving over the past few years. But with technology pitching in, there is much more which we can expect to see in the coming future. We are amazed by the technology advancement embedded in the scripts, and there are hints for the future too.
An example of it is the web-series, Stranger Things. The creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, set the time of the series in the 1980s era. An era of nostalgia speaks through the entire series, as the viewer is transmitted to the world of movies created by Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, and the imaginary world of the king of horror, Stephen King. Few have the eye to appreciate the technology used by the Duffers to incorporate the idea of 1980s scenery into a millennial script production. The result is mesmerising.
Although these visual ideas were already a part of the main document, it was evident that it had been created with the ongoing technology of coding and software application. The screenplays were seemingly breathing, living, and very much relatable. Also, with the help of technology, they incorporated the conceptual artwork, photos, visual aids, etc. that accompanied the screenplays to their final PDF format.
Screenwriters and Coders- Working Together
The worldwide video game industry generated a revenue of $99.6 billion (Source: Global Games Market report, 2016).
The gaming industry is blooming without a doubt and is broadening its horizons to reach Hollywood writers and collaborate in major projects. The time is not far away when we would be able to see a total collaboration, where both the parties are paid equally! Video game writing requires unique skills. Video games now have more depth and character as compared to the time when screenwriting wasn’t an integral part of the process. If the technological demands of one domain bring it closer to another, it is surely going to be worth playing!
If you have ever visited Pixar or any similar game generating studios, you must have an idea that generating a picturesque landscape is just a matter of a single click now. Imagine a time with coders and screenwriters combining their imaginations to create magical worlds for all to enjoy. And then allow us to inhibit those worlds with the help of our smartphones or tools of Virtual Reality.
Screenwriting Contracts- Going Digital
Till 1970, screenwriters and actors had to sign contracts with specific studios for multiple projects. Those projects kept them committed to a single place of work, for years at a time. Especially the screenwriters, they were studio salaried employees who worked for whatever projects were assigned to them in any given fiscal year.
When the concept of a spec script- screenplays written in consideration of future productions- came into being in the early 70s, the contractual positions slowly diminished.
Now, most of the screenwriters are signed in to work on individual projects or can freelance, to different studios and production houses. Hollywood is such a big place, and the competition is too much, that screenwriters who are pitching in to write free of cost are frustrating people who are trying to earn through screenwriting. The system of payment is confusing screenwriters as far as their career choices are concerned.
With the central payment and recruitment systems going digital, the growth rate of screenwriters within the industry can see a rise. Or, the companies and production houses could go back to the 70s model, and offer digital contracts to screenwriters. Wouldn’t it offer a safer and brighter screenwriting future? I’m signing off to enjoy a movie evening with my Spectrum TV Select. What are your plans? Do share in the comments!
Rosie Harman is a senior content strategist at VisiOneClick, specializing in Technology. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington and has spent the majority of her career working in tech giants in Texas.
When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her blog.