I am a screenwriter.
I put words into people's mouths.
You've known me all your life. I've written cartoon pablum for children and animated meals for adults. My work is alive 24/7, so I have to be versatile and up for challenging roles.
I manipulate history to come alive and bring its personalities into the present. I can make heroes or villains. I can make God lie.
I am a screenwriter.
When you sit down to watch TV, you've come to my door and knocked. I make you laugh. I make you cry. I scare you sideways. I thrill you with endless action, car chases, explosions, and war. I create the darkest places in your mind. I give you every reason to leave me - then I end with a cliffhanger. I can be Sex in the City, Game of Thrones, or I can be Monty Python.
I develop worlds in your imagination. I leave you with lasting quotes. I see dead people. I ask if you're lucky, punk. I tell Sam to play it again. I tell you I am your father, Luke. I tell you that you complete me.
“I steal from every movie ever made.”
— Quentin Tarantino
Somewhere between the original idea and the director is me, enunciating, memorizing, and weighing each word. You are a victim of my life's work. I pace myself. I speak slower, I repeat myself, and I go silent. I gasp, I weep, I exact revenge. Oftentimes this is me alone at 3am reading the parts of five people to my captive furniture. If I don't write enough, you get another commercial popped in. If I write too much, it'll get edited down, and the production company will issue an extended DVD with never-heard-before scenes.
I invent names and people and identities. I create cultures, worlds, and universes. There is no job on earth like it.
I give the future a voice. I change the past. It doesn't matter if I'm wrong as long as you are entertained.
"Entertain them," said my mentor, "And you've done your job."
If you met me, you'd never know I had a thousand people talking in my head. You'd never know I seduced you. You might think so-and-so is brilliant, but they are actors merely reading my lines. You might think you share souls with a character, but they are actors reading my lines. You masturbated to someone I invented late one night and gave an Australian accent to.
Without me, the show is over before it starts. A movie takes 90 minutes of my words and calls it a film. Whenever I run out of words, when I've said all there is that is needed to say, then the credits can roll.
I can make anyone play the piano. I just write it into the script, and it becomes a reality. But if the actor cannot read music or play the piano, the director will need camera angles and computer graphics. That's beyond me. I just put a song into one's mouth. It's movie magic.
“To make a great film, you need three things: the script, the script, and the script.
— Alfred Hitchcock
I am a screenwriter. I always get the last word. I can send you to sleep happy or sad. I give you a community to be a part of. My work lives and dies, and I make you believe in my squeamish, unique, and vivid imagination. I give you people to cheer for and individuals to fill you with disgust. I nurse you along with dialogue and motivate you or deflate you. I make you nostalgic. I make you schizophrenic. I fill your head with voices I've given to people that don't exist.
My characters may be cited in court. "Your honor, did you ever see the Twin Peaks episode where...?"
Such are the fictitious lives I write so well that you prefer them over real people. You prefer my sculpted illusions to reality. My work grounds you into a delusion about what is real and what is not.
My characters fill you with a reassuring cozy comfort when you see them, and you may even imitate them. They can give you strength. Other films imitate them. Other screenwriters imitate me. I imitate art. I imitate science. I inform, educate, and instruct you, all without your knowledge. I can leave a catchphrase out there for people to mimic and situations for you to point out as truths. I can deliver you a business meeting in Silicon Valley, a tour around a superconductor, or an autopsy. When you give an example, my work might come to mind.
But I can change the genders, sexes, and races. My work is powerful enough that I can confuse you to think Ukraine invaded Russia, that North Korea is bluffing, or that big is beautiful. I can situate the action to take place anywhere in the multiverse, yet it never leaves the factory soundstages at the studio. My workshop is light years across. Yet it can be boxed up and moved in a truck.
I give you quotes to mutter around the coffee cooler. I leave impressions decades deep. I am Indiana Jones, Bridget Jones, Homer Simpson, and I am Jeffrey Dahmer. Some of YOUR memories are actually MY memories. I carry on the legacies of screenwriters before me. Before word processors and laptops, before color film. It has always been a challenge and a treat to entertain you.
When you need to watch your favorite movie to lift you up, I am there. When you need to be excited with an action sequence, I am the audio. When you want to relive a memory, I'm already waiting there with the dialogue that moves you to tears.
I put in pauses, breaths, beats, and counterpoints for your benefit. I am all of my characters at once. I know how my characters would respond to X, Y, and Z and what they wear, eat and drink. "Martini - shaken, not stirred." I know what my characters will and won't do. These are PEOPLE to me. I live with them. I get paid to offload these into 12-pt Courier and shovel them into your viewing pleasures.
I am in your cupboards, along your walls, I am in all of your DVD and VHS collections. I am everywhere, standing behind people who can carry out my words. Like a speechwriter for the president, I can be the speechwriter for dead presidents and pretend presidents, a dog as president, or a president of Mars. I exist outside of the realm of truth. There is nowhere I don't exist.
“You don’t learn how to write a screenplay by just reading screenplays and watching movies. It’s about developing the kind of mind that sees and makes drama. You can do this in a kind of holistic way by reading history and theology and psychology, reading great fiction and poetry, and plays. You develop an eye for the structures of everything and look for the patterns that help you become a dramatist.” — Robin Swicord
I drive you crazy. I carry public opinion. I sway views. I change public perception. I can make you vote, get a paid membership, buy my favorite drink or become an orthodox Jew or a traditional Jedi. I hold you captive to my sins, fantasies, and the things I find funny.
I know if I don't please your eyeballs, you'll change the channel. I'm mindful of that, and it's truly one of my greatest fears. That you'll see through all the clever verbiage and reason that I'm not worth your time. I truly fear whatever made you change the channel. My lifestyle depends on you hanging on my every word. That's why we don't kill off our heroes anymore, there's always a chance they'll be brought back to life.
I've destroyed truths and manufactured myths. I've made you believe... I've made "the willing suspension of disbelief" easy for you to digest.
Even if you don't like me, you'll find me everywhere. But you know you love me. You keep coming back, night after night. And that is how I rent space inside your mind.
I am a screenwriter.
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