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“Screenwriters are professional dreamers.”  (Dorothee Schön)

Anyone who chooses the profession of screenwriter has decided to make writing the top priority in his life. Screenwriters spend most of their time writing down their thoughts. They invest boundless patience so that nothing in the world can deter them from writing. Their desire to write prevails.

“This may sound corny, but when the scene works, the characters speak. And when the characters don’t start ‘speaking to me‘, then I know the scene doesn’t work and press the DEL-key – everything just gets tossed.“ (Ulrich Limmer)

On top of their ability to plunge into fantasy worlds and invent stories, writers are especially spurred by their interest in real events, in people and their living conditions.

“All the good stuff was never made up.”  (Katharina Eyssen)

Read on

A writer not only has a lot more ideas than other people – she / he also asks herself how these ideas can become stories, and uses them to pursue a specific narrative intent.

Hidden behind the scripts is a blueprint, like for the creation of a house. This blueprint is not an end in itself – it enables the writer to immerse the reader[sic] in the world of the story, intertwining ideas into a powerful narrative stream.

“I like to watch comedies myself. As a film genre, I find them particularly appealing, because they let you reach a lot of people. It’s the toughest screenwriting discipline, the 100-meter dash, so to speak. It’s a dream when it works, when you’re sitting in the cinema and people are really laughing.“ (Doron Wisotzky)

Screenwriters frequently don’t film their own work. So they’re not novelists, who get to see their project through to the end, but are more like architects, whose drawings are built by others. This needn’t be a disadvantage, as long as the producer, director and writer agree on the narrative intent of the story.

“To write, or rather for its prelude, the formation of ideas, I have to set myself in motion. Either I  am sitting in the car myself, in a train, or I go for a walk; or there’s a lot in motion around me, like in a street café. Then, in good moments, dialogue, scenes, moments come to me. At home at my desk, I find that difficult. Music is helpful. I have to get myself into a ‘flow’ that inspires me. And I absolutely have to be, for god’s sake, totally alone!“ (Caroline Link)

In the beginning, screenwriters write for themselves and later for an audience whose reactions they imagine. In story conferences, writers are frequently mediators between the different interests involved in a production. They’re good listeners. Screenwriters never promise to literally put all the opinions voiced in a story conference into the screenplay. You take notes and then finish with a: “Now I’ve got to see where I go with this.”   

“On the days prior to the first day of shooting, all kinds of people pat you on the shoulder and wish you lots of luck on the shoot. I say, thanks, but I’m thinking: Practically everything is finished already. If you’re holding a good script in your hand, and the roles have been carefully cast, it’s really hard to manage to screw up the film in shooting. If you don’t, even a great deal of luck isn’t going to help.” (Hans-Christian Schmid)