Writer of the Silver Screens

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Writer of the Silver Screens

Bridget Higgins, Science Page Editor

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Thousands of television shows and movies are produced each year bringing the actors and actresses that play the characters into the spotlight. But, rarely does one hear of the brains behind the operations, the screenwriters. A screenwriter is someone who writes scripts so that they will be bought and then adapted into television shows, films and even video games. Screenwriters are behind the most interesting, loved, alluring characters that society is enthralled with, but it is not easy work.
Being a screenwriter requires a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft. Being a screenwriter draws writers for many reasons. Many hear the promise of fame and fortune, getting to see their work on the silver screen, but this is an unlikely dream for many. Screenwriters need to work long hours to produce interesting, creative material within a short deadline. Few scripts are chosen and to every script that is bought, there are thousands of others waiting. Like other jobs, there are times of struggle, lack of creativity, impatience, but the times of success, many screenwriters say, make it all worth it. The door to success revolves around many things but most importantly great characters. Characters that capture the audience’s attention is the key.
However, creating complex characters is not as simple as it seems. Character creation involves a lot of work in order to produce worthy ones. Having constants and variables will create a much more realistic person instead of the stock characters that are often seen. Claire Curran, a junior, gave her view on the matter, “My favorite movie is Mulan. One of the reasons I love it so much is because Mulan isn’t just your typical young women. She’s not some weak little girl who needs someone to protect her, she joins the army as a women in ancient China and proves all them wrong. I really respect the people who wrote her character”. Stock characters are the most simple individuals. Think of them as the nerd with glasses or the brave warrior. They are more often seen as background characters while the protagonist and antagonist are much more developed. Adding varying characteristics causes a character to have more depth which requires the audience to think harder in order to understand them. Olivia O’Connor, a junior, shared her thoughts, “A character that makes you second guess and think more is definitely more interesting than a predictable, stereotypical one. It wouldn’t be fun to watch something and you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen”.
Screenwriters use many techniques to help them along the journey of writing. Improv exercises such as, the “get out of your head” exercise are widely used to spark creativity. Since screenwriters rely almost entirely on their own imagination there comes a time where it seems as though creativity has stopped. Writers block is fairly common and can happen to anyone. But especially for a writer, it can be seriously damaging. It can be helpful to switch it up and let the brain rest and refocus. For example, imagine switching to a time period that’s different from the one the piece is set in. This can help the author see the story in a new light. Changing genre can also be a helpful technique. If the focus is a comedy, imagining it as a drama can spur new thoughts and viewpoints. Aaron Sorkin, an Oscar winning screenwriter who helped write “A Few Good Men” and “The Social Network” said in an interview with Parade Rewind, “When I’m in a perpetual state of writer’s block what I do about it is, I’ll get in my car and drive around and listen to music. But, mostly you just gotta let time pass”. Music for many is a gateway to daydreams, a rocket booster for creativity. Dorothy Finney, a student journalist for The Survey stated that, “It has been proven in experiments that listening to music can help work flow and concentration. However, it’s not an exact science and depends a lot on the person’s personality.”
Every screenwriter is different so what may work for one, may not work for the other. Everyone has their own process and that directly affects the characters they produce.
They overcome many obstacles in the field in order to achieve recognition and success such as lack of creativity or the inability to focus. Lauren Fox, a sophomore shared the reasons why Hermione Granger was one of her all time favorite characters, “ Hermione is such an inspirational character. She is a “muggle” born wizard trying to find her place at a new school .She shows that girls are capable of amazing things if they work hard and never give up. It’s really nice to see strong female leads in children’s movies because it gives young girls powerful role models to look up to.” Writers as talented as these are what truly separates an actor, from a character. Remember that when watching a famous movie or TV show.

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Writer of the Silver Screens