Honest Review! Lewis Cole and Screenwriting!

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In screenplay culture, Lewis Cole talks about the struggle that a screenwriter undergoes. The article starts out talking about how the aspiring writer struggles to make it, just as a rapper struggles to make it big. He goes on to describe, and I agree, that screenplays are not huge literary structures such as novels and short stories. However, it is more of a struggle to get the story on paper when the writer has to be much more bland.

“Some writers are more resourceful and original, and speak with greater precision and a surer authority of imaginative knowledge than others.”(Cole, Pg 561) I completely agree with him here. Great screenwriters aren’t just born. It takes much trial and error to get the right images on a page. James Cameron didn’t write Avatar in a day. That movie took nine years being made and a majority of that was writing the script.

The details of a screenwriter’s words in a screenplay have to be strong and precise. He has to be able to direct without directing. He needs to be able to tell his story with detail and make it so the cast and crew see his picture. This way they can bring alive the screenwriters story. It’s a struggle for most screenwriters going through draft after draft of their story to get it to perfection. “The screenwriter doesn’t explore the world he or she creates, but emblematizes it, searching for a perfect image, gesture or phrase that the director and actors can use to embody whole realms of thought…”(Cole Pg 564) 

“A reader lingers over a story or novel; understands and then challenges his or her own judgments of characters; learns, masters and loves a world that he or she helps bring to life. In contrast, the screenplay is a disposable pleasure-“a good book.” as a Los Angeles doctor once said about an ovel by Gabriel Garcia MArquez, “to listen to music by.””(Cole Pg 566) I completely agree with him here. Novels go into elaborate detail and screenplays are subtle detail. With screenplays, we know that the director is going to bring the story to the screen for us to see. And for novelists, they have to describe in desperate detail what they are trying to portray. This is why I think movies made from books lack that “umph.”

In all very elaborately Lewis Cole did a very good compare and contrast on many aspects of screenwriting. I was able to pick up a lot from this article that made sense and put more into perspective.
Cole, L. (1991). Screenplay Culture. Nation, 253(15), 560-566.

About the author


I am a Director and Student. I make short films and documentaries. I love everything about what I do in my industry. I love the outdoors and love being active.

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