HOW IMPORTANT IS THE WORK OF A SCRIPTWRITER? Over the last half of the 20th century, it became apparent that writers in general and scriptwriters in particular were under siege. This was brought to the fore by two essays written in the latter part of the 1960s by Roland Barthes who wrote “The Death of an Author” in 1968 and Michel Foucault who wrote “What is an Author” in 1969. These essays seemed to belittle the role of all authorship by reducing writers of all kinds to invisibility or mere “author-function.” Added to this was the knowledge that Hollywood seemed to have a very low regard for the scriptwriter in general. As time progressed, so did the role of the scriptwriter as he went from being a mere technical aid who listed the scenes and shots for the convenience of the director to cultivating the type of imagination required by the best writers in order to bring a new literary form into being. Unlike the writer of the original text of a novel, the scriptwriter’s task is presently regarded as the keystone of the film. The scriptwriter acts as the film’s catalyst by guiding the story structure, characterization, its motives and themes as he must show the visual aspects in much greater detail than the novelist. Today, the film script is not just an unfinished sketch or a skeletal blueprint, but a complete work of art in itself. scriptwriter has seemingly replaced the fiction writer, in importance. After all, it is the scriptwriter who replaces the writer of the novel being filmed and is therefore considered the author of the shooting script because he is one of the people most responsible for the success of the film. Despite the narrative and publication of the novelist, the scriptwriter has no writing in published form for the average reader, yet he is able to tell a dramatic story with pictures in dialogue and description which a large audience would understand.

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