The importance of the script as an element in film production – part 1

For a start, let’s leave aside the screenwriter as a separate profession and refer only to the screenplay, as one of the elements in the production of a complete film. The screenwriter can be a professional, but so can the director himself, and often writers and playwrights can put their signature behind a screenplay. That is why it is so important to have a professional, “craft” scripted script as the basis and need for a good film. According to each definition that puts film art in a certain frame, the creation of a film begins with the idea, on the basis of which the screenplay is then written. The script stands as the starting point of the chronology of the film production, but lasts until the very end of the post-production and the completion of the editing process, and stands in the background of everything, as the “guardian” of the original idea and story. Reading the definitions written by many important theorists of film script and dramaturgy, who tried to introduce the standards in dramaturgy and storytelling, it is clear that the script itself is not a complete and independent work of art. Of course, the style of writing, the skill of describing situations, giving them an emotional glaze with the help of poetics, as well as reviving the characters and their destinies before they become real people, is an individual gift that the screenwriter makes an artist. The writer’s emotions must first be skillfully described, and then materialized through acting, so that they can be “seen” through the camera lens and displayed on a silver screen. A well-written script allows the inner and outer beauty of the characters to be embodied on the screen. However, everyone agrees that, no matter how well written, the script is at the same time a technical document, on which the film production plan is based. And the world cinematography, the film industry and every film production in the world, appreciate the importance of the script, and even more the importance of a well-written screenplay.

We know that film is not a natural science and the same general rules and laws do not apply to every film. If it were natural science, then every movie would look the same, all the stories would look like each other and only one universal truth would rule the world. Fortunately, this is not the case. However, statistics as an analytical form can be applied to film production, in order to see some results of interest. The premise says that a good script, in a large percentage of cases, results in a good film. This simply means that it is very important to have a sound and dramatically structured script on which the story is “modulated”. Next, the next step is for that script to be recognized and well read by the director, to finally get a quality, visual product. A poorly written script, which at the same time does not mean a bad story, but an incorrectly conveyed story in film language, can be realized in a good film, but also there is a tendency that the end result can be only visually appealing, but very easily fail in dramaturgy. This means that the audience will enjoy the visual aspect of the film, through well-structured footage, professional acting and perfect sound, but in the end it will simply be difficult to tell the story itself. The exceptions are not surprising and there are many examples of large discrepancies between different stages of production. Well-written scripts, which tell even better stories or ideas, end up in “obscene” quality films and are torn apart by critics because the director has never invested enough to visualize the script as intended. On the other hand, there are many poorly written screenplays that have been produced in many successful films.

From the clash of ideas between the two philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, arises the dilemma of the idea and its perfection. Is there only an idea as opposed to everything else, so the material and the spiritual are only copies of the idea and only it can be perfect, as Plato claims. Or the opposite of Aristotle’s thesis, that the idea is only a picture of nature, but processed through the process of cognition and thinking, in a new form never seen before. If we make an analogy with the film, we will ask ourselves whether the idea as a “prehistoric” form of the film, long before the film takes the form seen by the audience, is original, or the idea of ​​the film is the result of previous knowledge and image of what the authors knew it before, but also the audience that witnessed the final product. It is when the film is in its infancy and it emerges as an idea or inspirational story that appeals to directors and producers that there is a real need for a proper approach and writing of that story in a structure appropriate for a film script. Otherwise, the story will remain “floating” on uncertain grounds and will sink into the poorly established connection between the story and film language.

For Camera Obscura

Jakov Poposki,


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