Today, January 5, marks a special day for screenwriting professionals and students. Before a movie or show is released, these individuals scramble and edit the actor’s lines and dialog. Heck, they are (sometimes) even dictating the work for the director. Whenever there’s a fight scene, they specify the transitions, write the conversation, and visualize the actions to compose an unforgettable movie.
Although we tend to forget about the screenwriters who grind their days on research and composition, we must realize that these individuals have impacted modern society in an eternal way. Without them, lessons won’t be learned, and entertainment won’t exist. Although many scripts were created before our current century, they are still relevant to today’s events, and here are 4 of them:
We may have dreaded our cheesy, Shakespeare lessons in high school, but this play, Othello, is more than just about kindled romance. In fact, the play centers around a problem that we still face as a society: racism.
Throughout the play, the antagonist (Iago) decides to seek revenge on another person, Othello, who is an ethnic minority. He does this through manipulation, lies, and deceits, often with racial slurs. These derogatory phrases, unfortunately, continue to be frequently heard around the world.
Therefore, Shakespeare as a playwright not only depicted tragedy, but the injustice that people of color (POC) face. Even though Othello was written more than 400 years ago (and the antagonist is more than a jerk), the problems we see in the play are still visible in society today. And they must be rectified soon.
We all remember Forrest Gump as a fun film that won Tom Hanks an Oscar award. But when reading the play, anyone can decipher the hidden meanings from the dialog and the actions.
One of the most helpful lessons that Roth has taught us is to expect the unexpected. In the first act, Forrest Gump says “My momma always said/Life was like a box of chocolates./You never know what you’re gonna/get.” The feelings of unexpectedness is what many of us should keep in mind, especially during challenging times. Plus, we should never forget the amusement that occurred during the play.
I’m sure many of us know what the movie is about by the title. Indeed, Contagion is now known as the movie that foreshadowed the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, the script itself – without the acting – is just as significant as the film.
When reading the play, raw emotions can be felt especially during such a relatable time period. Doesn’t the line, “I want you to get off now./And stay away from other people,” sound familiar amid the isolation? If you read the play before last year, you would definitely know what I’m talking about.
Billy Wilder is a screenwriter known for his unique sense of hypocrisy and humor. One of the most popular movies that he worked on is The Seven Year Itch, which describes what happens when a married man is left by himself in the apartment.
However, the term “seven year itch” actually describes the urge to act unfaithfully after seven years of tying the knot. As many people are rushing to love and marry nowadays, the script sheds light on the misfortunes. In Chapter three, the line “One day she’ll wake up/and find her looks are gone” describes the emphasis of physical appearance on society nowadays. Indeed, dating ideally should be emphasized on a person’s character, but unfortunately, many prioritize physical appearances.
These four scripts, which were adapted into films or plays, indicate the importance of a screenwriter’s position. They aren’t only the masterminds behind the cinema, but teachers who convey an important lesson. Even though every film is created in a different time period, we can still learn from the situations today, or perhaps even after a decade. In order to celebrate the art behind movies and films, let’s all wish our favorite screenwriter a National Screenwriter Day and continue learning from their art.