Screenwriting : Does screenwriting all boil down to an innate ability? by Phillip 'Le Docteur de Script' Hardy

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Phillip 'Le Docteur de Script' Hardy

Does screenwriting all boil down to an innate ability?

You can learn how to write feature/TV scripts by going to classrooms or online programs and can get an MA in screenwriting. There are also many certificate programs offered online such as Screenwriting U, who just sent me a solicitation the other day. Or, you can do what I did and learn empirically and write a lot of screenplays. My question is:

Does someone have to have an innate talent to be a great storyteller or can this process be taught or learned?

What say you my loving forum dwellers?

Happy holidays!

Anthony Moore

Story telling is an innate skill but it can be learned. Screenwriting has to be learned but once the basics are mastered it can become innate. The first is the foundation for the second. Although I've read "screenplays" that needed help with both.

Dan MaxXx

To be a game changer, you got "it" DNA writing genes. know instinctively when to zig and zag, do stuff on the page that becomes a brand.

But there are thousands of average screenwriters making a decent living for a short time - say 5 to 10 years - before they gotta do something else like teach to make $.

CJ Walley

One the one side, you've got the No Such Thing As Talent principal. Anything can be learned if you engage in deliberate practice (tackling weaknesses) for a certain number of hours.

On the flip side, it seems that the capacity for imagination is genetic. I know of people who cannot visually imagine things unless they try really hard at it. They are highly academic as they simply don't day dream.

Then we have the habits of highly successful people. They are incredibly driven to the point of being sociopathic to work with. Imagine wanting to work a 100hr week every week for the rest of your life by default and for all of those hours to be as intense as possible.

Watching a long time director-producer work was a huge wake up call for me. It's like meeting a whole different species.

Eric Christopherson

There are skill levels that can not be reached, it seems to me, by any form of study. The dialog of Mamet, Tarantino or Sorkin, for example. But competence can be learned.

Chad Stroman

I think it's a percentage type thing.

You have to have SOME innate ability but it has to be coupled with an ability to learn and develop that ability + hard work/dedication.

As an example, you could be born seven and a half feet tall, muscular and agile. That doesn't equal a basketball player. The ability is there but it takes learning, development, hard work, etc. to then become a basketball player.

Some people might be 10% ability and 90% development of it and become successful.

Others might have 75% ability and 0% development and never become successful.

Ally Shina

I think anyone can tell a story... especially as a screenwriter because of the fact that film is open to any type of stories, structure and narrative. Actuality stories like biographies can easily be written by someone who learns the technicalities because all it will be is a retelling of events. Writing personal experience into a film, or a great story someone tells another person about their personal stories... the sources are endless and the education available on line... but most importantly we all have one innate ability that can make anyone a great storyteller, dreams.

Aray Brown

you can be taught anything but without talent and passion for it, you won't get far

Doug Nelson

Dave Trottier and I had this very discussion a few years back and we reached no definitive answer. I'm pretty much of the opinion that creativity is basically an innate. quality. He was of the opinion that it could be taught. He wrote a little booklet called Double Your Creativity in 3 Hours (he sent me a copy to edit.) I remain skeptical.

In my humble opinion, I believe that every child is a born creative (watch little kids at play) but by the time they get through school - most, if not all, of that creativity has been beat outta' 'em. A few fortunate (or unfortunates) manage to hold on to it.

I don't know the answer.

Stephen Floyd

I used to think, “If I can do this, anyone can.” Now that I’m a little deeper down the rabbit hole, I see those who truly excel have a high tolerance for self-awareness, and very few of us can manage that. That drive to push and explore yourself is definitely innate.

Andrew Graf

Passion and talent still need to be fine-tuned and coached.

Dash Riprock

I can train 12 hours a day, and it'll make me faster, but there's no way I'll ever have Usain Bolt speed.

Dan MaxXx

The thing is we are writing with a camera. Making pictures.

Fitzgerald and Hemingway flunked as Screenwriters but they're both considered great Novelists.

Craig D Griffiths

after 10,000 hours of practice (not just doing). You will be the best you can be and better than 99.9999% of the world. Will you be unique? Probably not.

Creativity comes from somewhere inaccessible. It is like the ability to care for strangers. I can help, I may be able to prevent harm. But I can never be a nurse.

I believe to be truly great you are born with it. We can be as good as we can be. That will be enough for some people. That will get some scripts sold.

In a nutshell. You are born with raw material. If it can be formed into great artist, luck you. But it may actually be the raw material that makes a great doctor.

Jacob Buterbaugh

"You don't have a choice about how much talent you are born with. You do have a choice about whether or not to develop the talent you have." -Judith Weston

Do the best you can with what you got.

The gods only help those who help themselves. The Muses come to those who do the work. If They see you waiting around, They will move on. They will find someone whose fingers are already typing, someone whose pen is already writing, someone whose brush is already painting.

Steve Sherman

Hard work and elbow grease go a lot farther than all talent and no drive. Just Sayin..

Stephen Floyd

That’s a good point. Most filmmakers would rather work with someone who plays nice and hits deadline than an artiste who slaves to perfect every detail.

Craig D Griffiths

Nothing is a substitute for hard work. But imagine the god like creatures that have talent and work hard.

A complete opposite to some people in my family who bone lazy and dumb as a sack of hammers.

CJ Walley

Beware self limiting beliefs. I suggest checking out Real Artists Don't Starve; Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age.

Some of the most intelligent, brilliant, and creative people in history failed to go on to achieve anything notable due to dysfunctional issues like fear of failure, perfectionism, and chronic apathy.

Also a lot of highly renowned artists consider themselves imposters within their industry.

Plus, on top of this, and detailed in Hit Makers: How Things Become Popular we have a cultural habit of conflating popularity with ability and that popularity tends to be more a product of sheer exposure than objective analysis.

Know that, as a born creative, that is your blessing and it is more than good enough. Do not take your precious existence and dismiss yourself as inferior or within some sort of ranking system. Your heroes struggled with worthiness, self doubt, and validation just like you.

I spent most of my life up to the age of thirty-two thinking I couldn't write simple because I struggled so much with English lessons at school. There is no way I would have believed I'd be doing the things I'm doing now.

Jacob Buterbaugh

I spent DECADES thinking that I wasn't smart enough, wasn't talented enough, wasn't good enough... There are stories that didn't get told, and films that didn't get made, because of it. I wonder where I'd be now if I had just done the work instead of thinking about all the stupid shit that made me insecure.

It doesn't matter whether you were born with it and you do it, or if you weren't born with it but you do it anyway. If you want something, anything in this world, you gotta go after it, and then you gotta take it.

Study. Do the work. Do it the best you can. Get better at it. Don't get it perfect, just get it done. Don't think too much about it. After that, whatever will be will be.

Peter Roberts

The fact someone chooses to learn the art implies there is already something within inspiring them. Of course, there are some who just do things to try and earn but, unless there really is some sort of spark, it usually shows (and puts people off).

Jenny Masterton

10000 hours

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