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Screenwriting and Literary Techniques Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jul 24th, 2022

As soon as cinema moved from simply capturing what was happening on film to telling stories that had ever happened in the author’s reality and imagination, it became necessary to record what the director wanted to say. This was done not to get confused in the story and convey to the public what was intended. This is how the need for writing scripts arose. Creating an emotional connection between characters and the audience is the most critical task for a screenwriter (Hueth 2019, p. 12). This work aims to identify literary techniques for writing scripts, study how they are practiced in various genres, and interact with the text and performance.

To make the film brighter, more expressive, screenwriters use various literary techniques. Literary technic is an important part, which has provided many opportunities to the filmmakers (Ramrao 2016, p. 153). One of the most popular techniques is a flashback. In most cases, the flashback is the background of certain events and most often represents a memory of the character, story, or dream. Flashbacks is used when there is no other way to move forward in the script without revealing or telling the audience something important about the character (Lucia 2019, para 2). Jim Uhls, in the script for the action movie Fight Club, used a flashback to reflect the state of its hero. James Cameron’s drama Titanic also uses a flashback that shows memories from the main character’s past. The flashback becomes a crucial moment in the characters’ lives in the film so that the viewer pays attention to the formation of certain behavioral aspects or the development of a particular situation.

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one kind of object or idea is used instead of another to suggest a similarity or analogy between them (Severson 2020, para 3). A metaphor is clearly shown in the script of Todd Phillips and Scott Silver for the thriller The Joker. The main character, Arthur Feck, has a mental disorder, and from that he experiences problems from being in society. The very specifics of his disease aggravates the situation: after all, once in a stressful situation, the main character suffers from bouts of uncontrolled laughter. Laughter in the movie The Joker is a very original find, which works on the narrative.

Diane Johnson and Stanley Kubrick infused the Shining horror script with metaphors and hidden meanings. One of the most famous scenes of the film is the bloody wave that engulfs the hotel. The depth of the metaphors of this scene is enormous. The blood in Stanley Kubrick’s film is the blood under the wallpaper and parquet of the hotel, the blood that can only be seen by those who know what cruelty is.

In conclusion, while maintaining its distinction from other literary text types, the modern script has borrowed the imagery and palette of expressive means inherent in fiction. Thanks to literary techniques, the writings become brighter and more accessible, which also decorates the film itself. Based on the analysis of the scripts for the movie, the most successful ones were those that included a large number of literary techniques.

Reference List

Hueth, A.C. (2019). Scriptwriting for film, Television and New Media. Routledge.

Lucia, V. (2019). ‘Going back in time: How to write a flashback in a traditional screenplay’, So Create. Web.

Ramrao, T.N. (2016). ‘Film and literature: An overview’, Epitome Journal, 2(9), pp. 149-156. Web.

Severson, K. (2020). ‘What is a metaphor? Definition and examples in literature and film’, Studio Binder. Web.

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