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November 17, 2013

We live inside an enormous novel. The fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality. –  J. G. Ballard

Tracing the journey of a film from the printed page to the screen we get a fuller appreciation of what a collaborative endeavor filmmaking really is. We need only look at the work of a director through the lens of their collaborators; screenwriters, actors, cinematographers, editors, art directors, costume designers, and make-up and hair artists. And this is only a partial list of the constantly expanding list of crafts employed in today’s rapidly changing filmmaking process.

Still, in the beginning  was and is the blank page. Simple enough. Screenwriting is such a specific craft, not really novelistic, more a poetic, musical trope. It’s the point from which all the crafts, including the director, embark, applying their specific talents in support of a vision,  perhaps to create a look or a feel, choosing at times to be willing participants in evoking a dream.

The moment always arrives for the screenwriter when they have to give up their story to a director and maybe, more importantly, to the actors who will carry the telling of the story forward, exercising the full power and mystery of what they do.

Here then, some examples of the writing craft that are personal favorites:

The Servant – Harold Pinter for Joseph Losey: Unforgiven – David Web Peoples for Clint Eastwood; Sweet Smell Of Success – Ernest Lehman for Alexander McKendrick; Some Like It Hot – Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond for Billy Wilder; On The Waterfront – Budd Schulberg for Elia Kazan; Citizen Kane – Herman J. Mankiewicz for Orson Welles: The Long Goodbye – Leigh Brackett (by way of Raymond Chandler) for Robert Altman…

Take note: is a solid online repository where you might want to satisfy your script jones.

Plus, here,  some movies where a “screenwriter” is the protagonist: Nicholas Ray’s In A Lonely Place, Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, Robert Altman’s The Player, and…

Remember to hit the  Follow f/stop Fitzgerald widget, screen right, upper corner, when you complete your visit. Read, follow, comment. Tell your friends before you eat, pray, love. It will gentle their condition.

Just because they yell action doesn’t mean you have to do anything. – Marlon Brando

See you next week.

Thanks again.



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  1. Paul permalink

    I am troubled to see where all the great screenwriting is going with some of the mindless CG and avitar actors found in today’s movies.


    • That’s avatar…when, I might ask, has there not been mindlessness in the world?

      Thanks for your post, Paul…


      • Check out the Turkish movie “Head-On”…..quite a movie!:)


      • Turkish/German director Fatih Akin’s Head On is intense to say the least. Akin is a leading light, at the forefront of the new German cinema.

        Thanks for posting your comment, Ed…


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