The importance of the script as an element in film production – part 2

Today, the criticism of the established practice in Macedonia goes for the less ignorant attitude towards the script, as an essential and primary element in the film production. We must make it clear that when we talk about a professional script, we do not mean a new, fresh, beautiful story that we have heard or witnessed throughout the day. A good script means a well-constructed dramatic whole and a solid structure that will support the story and make it visually appealing and achievable. This does not mean strictly following the rules and neglecting the artistic freedom, but elegant use of the key dramaturgical points, bits, in the script and their putting in function of the story. Therefore, the script, which is actually a storytelling through pictures, is in a way a mathematically solved static, which will maintain the stability of the “building” regardless of the weight of that building, which in turn depends on the stylistic expression of the director.

What is certain is that since the beginning of the Macedonian film after 1991, the attitude towards the script as a necessity in the film production has been almost unchanged. The film is a megalomaniac product, in the realization of which a large film crew participates, and in the end it is often called a project, not a work of art. Although at the very beginning there were many difficulties in the transition from state to independent production, still the Macedonian film does not lag behind in the production process. The end products are decent and even outstanding works, with great cinematography, well-planned and well-crafted scenery. The casting and the acting already have a specific Macedonian expression, and the performance of the actors is becoming more credible as a result of most of the chances that the actors get for appearing in front of the camera.

However, what was most neglected was the script. Even today, the script is the weakest point in the Macedonian film production and is taken for granted. Prior to 1991, it was the practice of writers and playwrights to write screenplays as well. This practice remained unchanged, more or less even after independence. This does not mean that there were none or no talented screenwriters in Macedonia. However, the fact that the film production does not give such an important importance to the script at the beginning of the production, contributes to the infamous fact that in Macedonia it is difficult to work as a professional screenwriter. This does not mean that there are no scripts, but the film is already being considered for the next phase very quickly, and the script remains unfinished or often not worked at all. Today, the Macedonian film “industry” has no program, production or fund that will invest directly in the development and writing of new screenplays. By the term writing, we mean the process of script development, from the initial idea to a complete and film-based script. This is probably the easiest way for the Macedonian Cinematography and the Film Agency as the main producer to raise the quality and quantity of the films. So apart from the enthusiasm for writing and creating in that literary-cinematic space, and the hope that you will see your characters revived outside the imaginary world in your head, there is actually no other material motivation to work as a screenwriter. The script gets real attention when there is some prior collaboration between the screenwriter and the director / producer, or when the production or director is somehow sure that there is a budget for the film, and only then hires a screenwriter or “script” doctor to finish it. the story. This creates a vicious, “evil” circle, where good movie scripts and quality, fresh, and modern stories never see the light of day. So, screenwriters write only for themselves or more precisely, for no one. This is probably because there are only a few good “readers” who can recognize a well-written script. It is even less likely that one of those good scripts will accidentally fall into the hands of a “winning” director or producer.

This is how we come to one of the biggest problems that create an imbalance in the production of the film, and that is the frequent identification of the story with the script. This unnatural equality ignores the need to develop the story in a cinematic way and to incorporate the story into the parameters of the dramaturgy and the structure of the script. What makes the film a special art is the pressure of time as an element of the story. Closed in a confined space with a clearly defined time, although aware of the visual aspect of the film, the viewer is expected to feel the emotion and “find out” the subjective truth of the story, without having to chase it through the vague paths of the lens. Instead, one usually moves immediately to the materialization and visualization of the incompletely processed story. The production phase of the film may be “truer”, more human and more emotional than the very form of the script, because it deals with real people, actors who give life to a previously written story. However, film as an art is subject to certain rules, which even deliberately violated, exist in the background, keeping the story stable and secure. These rules are the answer to the questions of why and how to tell the story intended for the big screen, a story that covers only a small segment of infinite space-time, while following a few selected characters. If we do not have the answer “why here” and “why now” our story happens, the story will lose the necessary intensity, the dramatic conflict decreases, and that reduces the interest and empathy with the protagonist.

For Camera Obscura

Jakov Poposki,


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