Of all the crafts associated with the filmmaking process, screenwriting may very well be the most unique—and also the most misunderstood.

The screenwriter is the first person charged with shaping the vision of the final film, the person whose inspiration provides a guiding light for all the artists and technicians who will later add their own individual talents to the project. But when you think of Hollywood films—which often go through several screenwriters, some of whom never receive a screen credit for their work—there’s a sense that what writers do is rather disposable. Add to that the public misconceptions (“Writers just write the stuff that the actors say, right?”) and the clichéd assumptions (“Anyone can be a writer”), and ...

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