Writing Missed During Strike
The screenwriters' strike has received a good amount of media coverage, and this is rather unusual. The fact of the matter is the media typically has very little interest in screenwriters or what they...
The screenwriters' strike has received a good amount of media coverage, and this is rather unusual. The fact of the matter is the media typically has very little interest in screenwriters or what they do. So what explains media interest in the screenwriters' strike? The interest is actually easily explained: the screenwriters' strike has put a halt to much of the television and movie output in the American entertainment industry, and this void is where the really story lies. The point lost however may be that the strike indicates the importance of screenwriters to the entertainment business.
The importance of screenwriters is certainly a surprise to some. The person who goes to the movies or turns on the television in most cases doesn't give much if any thought to how movies or television shows come together; and in fairness, there's not much reason they should care. Unless one works in the entertainment industry or has an interest in it, the inner workings of the industry are irrelevant. Be that is it may, going back to the very beginnings of entertainment itself, output has mostly come from words written out on a page.
William Shakespeare, perhaps the most influential writer ever, was in fact a performance writer. Shakespeare was a playwrights, and plays are the foundation for the movies and television shows we watch today. The notion that actors essentially did as they pleased on stage, perhaps with slight input from Shakespeare, is ludicrous. Shakespeare wrote a series of scenes or sonnets that connected into some form of logical story, and the actors memorized and then performed what Shakespeare had written. Any form of acted drama then has basically always needed some form of written script to be performed.
Some may point to the golden age of radio as a possible exception. When radio was the primary means of mass communication, before television saturated the market, radio was about more than just music: every form of entertainment and communication was provided by radio, from news to situational comedies. Even then, the dramas and comedies performed on radio were written and rehearsed prior to being performed. It's easy to come to this outcome simply by considering the financial implications. There isn't an entertainment network in existence that would invest resources in programming without knowing how that programming would play out. Commercial entertainment scripts then provide details used for business purposes as much as they do direction for actors.
It's a certainty that the screenwriters' strike will eventually be settled. The financial implications, both for the screenwriters and for the entertainment producers, are too vast to let the dispute drag on indefinitely. If nothing else however, the screenwriters' strike has demonstrated how absolutely vital writers are to the entertainment industry.
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Zinn Jeremiah is an online writer. Find more of Zinn's writings by visiting article exchange. For screenwriting help, visit screenplay writing.