This is kind of a part 2 to this post of mine, as it's from the same stream of thought.
In that previous post I ask various questions pertaining to the responsibilities of the screenwriter vs. those of the director. In plays the responsibilities seem to be very different. Part of a playwright's responsibility is to refrain from directing the piece on paper, to refrain from explanation and to let the actors and directors do these jobs. Any directing and explaining needs to be cleverly hidden within the dialogue to make it something that can't be thrown out and/or resented by those putting on the play. Contrary to the "Show don't tell" rules that abound in fiction and screenwriting it's a "show, through telling" that is going on in a play's text. A clever mention of something can imply that certain bit of direction must happen, without outwardly saying "so and so moves this way." It's partially this lack of stage direction and limited descriptions of the scenery that allow plays to be performed time and time again under various interpretations.
Perhaps screenwriting holds similar conventions I haven't found yet, but if the screenwriter is as responsible for the visualization and presentation of the story as the screenplays I've read imply, why don't the screenwriters get more respect from their peers and recognition from the audience?
In theater, actors and directors hold relatively steadfast to what is on paper. Scenes may be cut, a few lines of dialogue too, but it's my feeling that, for the most part, actors and directors try to adhere to what is written and work around and with it rather than through it. On first production the actors and directors may have varying degrees of impact on the final result, the playwright can be encouraged/forced to change things just as in film, but in the end it seems to me that the playwright will get a whole lot more recognition from the theater community and audience than the screenwriter will. It's strange to realize as so far, it seems to me the screenwriter might have a bit more responsibility for the end result.
Instead, the screenwriter seems to be abused. After a screenwriter sells their work they (seem, from what I'm learning) to be in a bad position. They've made more money than the playwright will likely make, but their screenplay can get shredded up into every which way, or even perhaps heavily rewritten. They get the blame if the movie is bad, with critics saying the director did the best they could with a crappy script (despite a critic never having read the script) and then little to none of the credit and congratulations when the film is good. On top of that, how many people, even those who are "serious" about film, can name the writer of their favored piece? They can name directors and actors, sometimes even producers more than the writer.
This has a great deal to do with the movie being a visual, one time thing, I understand. Plays can be produced over and over and over again forever which contributes to why a playwright's name survives, even if the population at large can't name 5 plays when asked. But those that do watch plays can name the playwright at a far higher rate than those who see films can name the screenwriter.
Money changes the dynamic but the movie usually wouldn't exist without the writer. It's the other pieces that, logically, seem the replaceable ones but it's the writer that gets bullied. Is it because we're the nerds in the room?
I understand that sometimes writers can be bad. Stories don't go how the people in charge think they should go and sometimes, yeah, a writer might need to be replaced and/or blamed. But how come they seem to rarely get the inverse of that, at least publicly?
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