Original screenplays….a myth?

Original screenplays.... A Myth?Will we see more original stories?

In today’s world, the definition of an original story is not about directly and personally discovering something new but more about creating something new from existing material.

Mostly everything is already discovered and is general knowledge. This is the case for the Sci-Fi & Fantasy genre because everything already exists in books, screenplays, short stories and movies.

Creative process

The point is coming up with ideas using imagination to create new or different characters based on existing stories. Many will not agree but the point is to explore and discover new stories from existing stories which could be based on your experiences and influences in your life.

The idea is not to look for the most popular story but finding your own using your creativity. Successful stories have every detail in place. This is because of the author’s dedication to the story. It may seem a lot of work, going from a book to the big screen, but it will pay off.

Take the Hunger Games and Divergent for example. Both stories have basically the same plot and looked literary like a copy from the other.

Would it have helped if the story was changed: maybe the story could have been played out in another setting or in another timeline? Probably yes. If the stories were engaging enough both could have been more or less equally successful.

Another great example is the similarity between the stories of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone and Star Wars.  Have you thought about it?  You are probably thinking that these 2 stories are completely different right?

The story in the first Harry Potter book follows pretty much the same course as Star Wars. All of the elements of legend and myth are in the story. You have an ordinary boy/man in an ordinary world thrown into extraordinary circumstances in which he must fulfill his destiny.

Let’s take a look at a few more similarities:

Harry Potter  vs Luke Skywalker 

  • Both Harry and Luke are orphans (or at least Luke appears to be in the beginning).
  • Neither of them really knows what happened to their parents and they never knew them either.
  • Luke and Harry both discover that they have strong potential in magic/the Force as both characters rise above great danger to save their friends.
Trooper-Sci-Fi Military

Voldemort  vs The Emperor

  • Voldemort and the Emperor both want to rule the world and  will do anything to make that happen.
  • Both are masters of the Dark Side and have minions to obey them
  •  In the end, both evil characters were defeated by love.

Professor Dumbledore vs Obi-Wan Kenobi

  • Dumbledore is the guardian and mentor of Harry Potter. Obi-Wan is the guardian and mentor for Luke.
  •  Dumbledore rescued  Harry when he was a baby after his encounter with Voldemort and delivered him to Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. Kenobi rescued Luke and hid him from the Emperor with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.
Star Wars illustration – Sci-Fi Military

Magic vs The Force

  • Only certain special people in the Harry Potter world have the potential to become wizards and witches. It’s the same with the Jedi.
  • Nobody believes in magic in Harry Potter’s real world. Most people in the Star Wars Universe don’t believe in the Force.
Hogwarts (Science) Fantasy

Hogwarts vs The Jedi Temple

  • Hogwarts is the boarding school where young children go to learn magic and become wizards. The Jedi Temple is where young children go to learn about the Force and become Jedi.
  • Both places are run by teachers/masters who teach the children their basic lessons.
Magic Wands – (Science) Fantasy

Magic Wands  vs Light-sabers

  • In the Harry Potter stories, wizards use magic wands to help them manifest their powers. The Jedi use light-sabers.
  • Wands and light-sabers are unique to the individual users.

I could continue with the list but I believe you are getting the idea. Using imagination to create new or different characters based on existing stories can result in great stories. The main focus here is to create something new (a new world, timeline, universe).

Importance of creativity

Original screenplays do exist. Its originality depends on the creativity of the author. Creativity is about finding new paths and views in the storytelling.

For example whole new characters were created for the story of Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. What I imagine that happened is that the author got inspired by the mention of the book of Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter story.

The author could have used the “what if” question: What if  we tell a story behind the creation of the book. Just from an element in a story and using imagination characters were created and  a new original story was born:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them Screenplay

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition here are a few titles of original screenplays that in my opinion were very creative and where the movie turned out well:

  •  Conclusion

    As long as authors use their imagination to find new ways in storytelling we will see more original screenplays along the way. Further with the increasing use of social media many platforms are created for authors to publish their stories and getting noticed. Do you agree?

    What is your take on original screenplays? Does it matter to you if the story is original or not? Feel free to leave your comments.

     

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14 thoughts on “Original screenplays….a myth?

  1. You are right, there is little new under the sun. Indeed, many belief systems come straight from ancient myths, transferred over centuries ago. This may be because some of the legends are believable. Time and again, we see reworkings of the same story, but change the backdrop, change the equipment, modify the characters and present in a readable/watchable way, then the entertainment value is still there. But it is difficult be original.

    1. Hi Mike
      You understood what I was trying to say. True it’s difficult but achievable by putting creativity and hard work. Copy paste is easy.

  2. Hey Dira,

    For me the story matters a lot.
    What I can’t stand is a movie with some plot holes bigger than the black hole itself.
    I give you an example straight ahead.
    Several days ago I watched (and it was hard for me) “Inferno” with Tom Hanks.
    The story was original but the execution was poor and there was a lot of nonsense along the way…
    I can give you also a good example- The HBO series “Westworld”.
    Now that is what I call a creative sci-fi plot and a really good character development.
    Sure enough, they didn’t reinvent the wheel with this one but the story is engaging and original.
    But I agree that it can be tough for the authors to come up with something new, given the fact that “the market” is oversaturated.
    However it is good that we keep on seeing some really original plots.
    Another example comes to my head- 10, Cloverfield Lane 🙂

    1. Hi Asen,

      Thanks for your comments. I did not see inferno yet so I can’t comment on that. I have the book and would like the read it first before I see the movie. I also find Westworld to be one of the best new shows that came in 2016. There is a whole universe created for Cloverfied but not everyone knows about it. I think they still have to do more work there to get people engaged.

  3. I watch both harry potter and star wars but have no clue that these two have lots of similarities. And actually I don’t care the story original or not 😉 If the movie is good I will gladly watch it. But of course I prefer original.

  4. I mean that is the whole point of the public domains is it not? So that we can take elements of a story and create something new. A good example of an original story including a classic is the movie the boy and the beast. They acknowledge and pull from the story Moby dick but there is an entirely new world that i have not seen anything like before.
    I think it is important to draw inspiration from others but is also important that we help to develop the story not just change 2 or 3 elements and call it original.

  5. It’s absolutely true that most of the big movies and tv shows are simple remakes of old fairy tales and movies that lost their flame. It seems as though most writers are afraid to be original because it leaves a lot of questions of how profitable it will be. It’s just easier to dig up something that already has a eager following.

    That being said, writing from personal experiences is definitely a great way to be original. I say that and I think of Broadway. There are so many stories built around real people’s lives that makes theatre productions worthwhile. Although I haven’t personally seen an original science fiction theatre production, I believe they exist and can be used for inspiration in the next set of mainstream productions.

  6. Yes you are right there are many similarities which are hardly noticed, but that’s the main point of being creative you take something you’ve seen and use that to make it better. But original screenplay is the way to go in my opinion.

    1. Hi Mysa,

      Thanks for sharing your views.
      Originality is difficult to create when everything has already been written. I think by now we are at the stage of re-imagining things or take stories as inspiration and from that we create new stories. Are they then considered original? It all depends I guess.

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