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"Carpe diem. Seize the day!" You're sure to have heard that line before, spoken by someone else or come out of your own mouth, and you just don't know where it came from or who said it first. It's not from a greeting card or a cheesy inspirational book--it's from a movie in 1989 called 'Dead Poets' Society.' This should be familiar as well--"I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"; or this--"ET, phone home"; or even--"May the Force be with you." The one thing they have in common is that they were spoken in movies, survived through decades and have become iconoclassic and that somewhere sometime ago, someone held a pen and wrote these lines on paper.
When movies started showing in cinemas as blurry, black and white moving pictures in 1886, there was no dialogue, no sound effects, just the characters gesturing wildly to get the plot across to the audience. When sound technology was finally developed in France in the early 1900's, there was a need to create organized plots and narratives, as well as actual dialogue among characters to develop a story--and screenwriting was born.
Screenwriting, from the word itself, is writing scripts for on-screen media. This can range from television shows, movies and, most recently, even the evolving world of computer or video role-playing games. It is inarguably the most important stage, as without a script there is no production. Screenwriting lays the foundation for the story and establishes the world and its characters used; without a good screenplay, there can never be a good movie.
In 1977, for example, George Lucas broke through the science fiction genre and established 'Star Wars' as one of the most influential movies ever created. Writing the script did not only entail writing dialogue Lucas had to build an entirely different world with a separate history and a different culture, as well as various races of humans and creatures alike, not to mention breathe life into believable characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, and also create an engaging plot for movie-goers to enjoy.
He not only succeeded; his story spawned a big following that is still growing long before his movie franchise has ended, and 'Star Wars' has found its permanent place in pop culture and to think that it all started with a graduate student with an idea and probably a typewriter in reach.
Good scripts go beyond entertainment and, of course, isn't limited to film. The value of television is increasing as more and more shows challenge their viewers and seek to bring something new to the table. With screenwriting in television, writers find a way to tell a story spanning years, with consistent characterization and new stories for each episode. With the demand for quality video games, screenwriters are needed to construct exciting worlds and quests to attract more players.
There is no doubt that screenwriting will always be a staple to the entertainment industry. As long as there are movies to be made and television shows to be produced, screenwriting is here to stay and make even more classic lines to be remembered and quoted for the next seventy years.