Film Theory: Narrative and Screenwriting–Significance

Screenwriters have always complained about the lack of recognition and appreciation of their work by directors, industry members and the public at large.

Inspiration may stem from different sources–existing as well as original stories–but a good script is more than just a blueprint for the director to use.

The script doesn’t have to follow the three-act-structure drawn from Greek tragedy and classic drama, but it must have a reasonably credible story, interesting characters, and engaging dialogue.

Directors look for good scripts that offer them challenges, or opportunities for visual expression and technical experimentation.

The brilliant cinematographer, Gordon Willis (The Godfather movies, among others) once observed: “A good story will survive bad photography, but a bad story will not survive good photography. There’s not much you can do with a bad story.”

Director Steven Spielberg also holds that “the process starts with the writer–it’s a familiar dictum, but somehow it keeps getting forgotten along the way. No filmmaker, irrespective of his electronic bag of tricks, can ever afford to forget the commitment to the written word.”