Chapter 7

Failures, Losers, and Screenwriter Wannabes: Storytelling for the Screen in the 21st Century

By Michelle Bellino and Michael Bellino

ABSTRACT: Recent decades have brought enormous material and structural changes to the film industry, so that the capacity to become a filmmaker is seemingly more within the reach of every individual than ever before. Despite this seeming democratization, screenwriting remains one of the most difficult and elusive careers to break into. This chapter focuses on the unique challenges of pursuing a career in a for-profit arts industry, exploring film’s inability to “professionalize” the art of screenwriting, the concept of distribution in digital contexts, and the industry’s daunting power differential. Drawing on our experience as a brother-sister screenwriting and filmmaking team, we demonstrate the interaction between the structural dynamics of the film industry and the internal apprehension that all writers face.

Join the discussion: