Field Guide to Spotting Screenwriters In The Wild (Part 2)

B. O'Malley


blog_different-type-of-screenwriter2Classifying the myriad types of screenwriters out there has been a task that’s eluded science since the dawn of cinema.  But me and my team from the University of Screenplay Readers has been able to compile and catalog, at long last, these unique creatures.  And we’ve put them in our blog.  Because that’s what scientists do.

In my Field Guide To Spotting Screenwriters In The Wild (Part One), I was able to classify several major species of screenwriters you may encounter in their natural habitats.  I now continue that work in part two:

The Actor (thespianus self-gratitorus)

This special offshoot of Screenwriter is known by his plumage, and for his lack of stealth.  The Actor is a screenwriter who has taken his acting career into his own hands, usually writing a script containing a nice juicy part for himself, and/or is writing a script because he’s fed up with rejection as an actor and has decided to take matters into his own hands by becoming a producer.

Depending on the variety of actor-screenwriter you encounter, he or she may be a completely fluffy tool, vapid and shallow with nothing to say, or a genius waiting to happen, along the lines of the now-extinct breed of actor-screenwriter, orsonus welles rex, who fed on copious amounts of pasta, meat, and wine, but was able to write and star in such great films as Citizen Kane  and great commercials for Paul Masson Wine.

The Eternal Neophyte (newbus permanentus insufferablus)

The Eternal Neophyte screenwriter is mostly found in midwestern climes, or rural areas, and has the distinction of being the breed of screenwriter that’s most closely related to the common ostrich.

That’s because Eternal Neophyte screenwriters have evolved without eyes and ears, so they’re incapable of receiving feedback from other screenwriters, or anyone else for that matter, so they live in an environment where everything they write is awesome, every typo they make doesn’t matter, everybody else is wrong, and even their own dung doesn’t have a scent.

These sorts of screenwriters are only rarely spotted near  major population centers, as they believe social interaction with film industry humans is not necessary in order to grow and/or succeed as an artist,  but they can spread misery and torment via the telephone and other electronic means, so be prepared should you run across one.

The Auteur (spielburgus delusionus)

The Auteur spends most of her days storyboarding her screenplay.  She’ll spend 2 weeks writing it, and 9 months storyboarding, or creating high-tech video animatics. Shot by shot, this screenwriter has her film planned down to the T.  Every camera movement, every special effects shot.

To the Auteur, a script is just a form to fill out; one more document standing in her way, keeping her from blowing the world away with her visual storytelling genius.  This person is amazing in a pitch when she has her storyboards and visuals, but feels a bit naked when pitching with just a screenplay.

It’s her enthusiasm, her vision for the project, which tends to speed the Auteur through the screenwriting process and get to the visualization as soon as possible, which is admirable and expected of film directors, but isn’t always beneficial to the survival of this species of screenwriter.

More often than not, the Auteur couples with a non-Auteur variety of screenwriter and is able to bring more flesh and textual /structural craftsmanship to her screenplay, but it should be noted that there are those rare mutants of Auteur who are able to write amazing scripts by themselves while managing also to go balls-to-the-wall with their visuals, animatics, and storyboards.  That being said, there are also Yetis.

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