Thursday, August 26, 2010

Enter the Screenwriter

An article printed in The Scientific American in June of 1909 heralded a new change in American popular culture. The screenwriter. This blurb was reprinted in the magazine in June 2009.

Moving pictures are exhibited in about ten thousand theaters and halls in the United States. With the rapid spread of this new amusement has also come a marked change in the public taste. Spectators were once quite content with a view of factory employees going to and from their work, the arrival and departure of railway trains, and similar scenes. Nowadays, a more or less coherent story must be unfolded, for which reason the makers of moving pictures have been compelled to write plays (or at least to conceive them) and to have them acted before the camera.

“More or less coherent” is a quality which seems to have remained with screenplays a century later.

2 comments:

Gordon Pasha said...

Jacqueline: And according to David Mamet (a personal favorite) writing as Richard Weisz: “As an American occupation, screenwriting has replaced knitting which it, in some ways, resembles: the rules for both are simple, and both involve sheep”. Best. Gerald

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Love the quote, Gerald. Thanks.