Screenwriting

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5

At the expense of Quality Screenwriting and what's causing it

Dustin Hoffman said it best: Movies are at their worst – and there is a reason for that. In this topic, we shall explore what those reasons are and why it continues to happen in the year 2020 in Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood.

  • Are there any specific 2020 releases you want to draw attention to in this topic? – Emily Deibler 8 months ago
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  • I don't think I agree with Hoffman's claim. I would need to see some clear definitions (what does "worst" even mean here? worst in what ways?) and solid evidence or examples. It's easy to make a super general claim. Explaining and backing up that claim is where the work starts. – JamesBKelley 8 months ago
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  • Whilst I applaud your desire to broaden readers' perspectives by considering film making outside of Hollywood, it would help your topic suggestion by providing some references and context for Hoffman's statement. Where and when did he make that statement and was there a particular film or films that caused him to comment such? How does the output of Hollywood compare to that of Bollywood, Tollywood and, for that matter, the recent interest in Korean cinema, following the success of 'Parasite?' Where, in your opinion, is Hollywood going wrong and where are non-American mainstream film makers getting it right? – Amyus 8 months ago
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  • Agreed with Amyus. I would actually argue the exact opposite. Movies used to be dominated by one demographic and now are actually so diverse. Perhaps what Hoffman means is that movies are at their worst for him. – Munjeera 7 months ago
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  • I'd suggest explaining a bit about the structure of basic screenwriting and based on what specifics you or anyone would consider a script to be "good" or "quality". I think Syd Field has several good books that might help – hazalse 7 months ago
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  • "Movies are at their worst" that is already quite subjective to Hoffman. What defines a movie being good or bad, and if you are to compare the trends in Hollywood, Bollywood, and Tollywood (three diverse film industries) there is a lot to consider. As such, making the topic a little more focused would help. – ajaymanuel 7 months ago
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4

Writing Your Own TV Series

Discuss the joy, frustration, anxiety, etc. of trying to write stories, plays, memoirs, or screenplays to eventually become a pitchable TV show. Or vamp a hypothetical TV series concept and discuss all of the reasons not to commit to writing it. Develop a cast, a location, time period, class, gender roles, ancillary characters or diversified cast, genre, subtext, political/not political etc. Fully commit as if this were something you were going to do, and then do it.

  • This is an interesting yet tough assignment. I think it'd need a certain type of writer. It'd be cool to know if any of our writer's out there are actually making their own pitch though! – Tatijana 5 years ago
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  • I have just finished himym and I wouldnt feel like writing anything different, because I really liked it. But writing your own TV series, great idea and good luck with patience to anyone who will give it a try. – nikoletaslezakova 5 years ago
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  • I've been working on writing a graphical novel in hopes of turning it into a TV series one day. I must say the idea of pursuing a career in writing/screen writing is rather intimidating for me. I always question whether other people will like my ideas as much as I do. I would love to hear about someone's experience with writing a TV series, even if it's just simple, non-concrete ideas. – Filippo 5 years ago
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The Great American Screenplay

In fiction, all writers (American ones that is) aspire to write "The Great American Novel" and in theater there is "The Great American Play." What particular novel or what particular play happens to claim the top spot is a matter of heated debate. However, in screenwriting there doesn’t appear to be any such debate about screenwriting and screenplays. One reason for this is the nature of film business, where writers have no control over their screenplays once they sell them. Another writer, assigned by the studio, or even the director can make whatever changes they deem necessary. The resulting screenplay may be nothing like the original writer intended, but does that take away from the merit of a good screenplay? Does "The Great American Screenplay" exist or is it made impossible by the Hollywood system?

  • "The Great American Screenplay"sounds identical in practice to The Great American Novel. There's always a so-called "Great American" anything for each generation. Even then, people's opinions vary too much towards creative works whether novels or films to have just one that captures the definition universally. – dsoumilas 5 years ago
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  • "The Great American Screenplay" is slightly different to novels and films because they are never really studied on paper. Even plays, which are written to be seen, are studied in lit classes. You might be able to claim a "Great American Film" by writer/directors such as Woody Allen, Tarantino, Orson Welles. But your right in that a screenplay never really stands alone and untouched because it will always be edited up to and after filming. – Francesca Turauskis 5 years ago
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  • What would the Great American film look like today? – george 5 years ago
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  • I don't think it's the medium that defines a "great American Screenplay," any more than a novel defines the "great American Novel," or a play would with a piece of theatre. Instead, the innate "American-ness" of it is; people say that Steinbeck was a great American novelist because his work was innately American rather than innately "great" in an abstract sense. – Sam Moore 5 years ago
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  • Because screenplays are written with the intention of being filmed, they're more likely to be considered in the context of the completed product. Moreover "Great American" anything is a fairly meaningless distinction. That said, Charlie Kaufman's screenplays are often considered masterpieces even before they make it to film. – markplasma 5 years ago
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