The 3rd Annual National Screenwriters Day is Jan. 5!

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To kick off National Screenwriter’s Day on Jan. 5, let’s start with a quote from six-time Academy Award-winner Billy Wilder who wrote and directed movies like The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard and Some Like it Hot.

 “Film’s thought of as a director’s medium because the director creates the end product that appears on the screen. It’s that stupid auteur theory again, that the director is the author of the film. But what does the director shoot—the telephone book? Writers became much more important when sound came in, but they’ve had to put up a valiant fight to get the credit they deserve.” – Billy Wilder

Even in 2019, the writer’s “valiant fight” continues as Hollywood famously downplays the importance of screenwriters, giving most of the credit to directors. Both jobs are difficult but writing the screenplay is the beginning, the birth, the raison d’etre for the film and writers should be celebrated. That’s why ScreenwritingU President, Hal Croasmun, created National Screenwriters Day in the first place. 

Screenwriter Billy Wilder on the set of The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Production still photographer: Jack Harris © The Mirisch Company, Inc.

Going on its third year, Croasmun’s mission for the holiday is “To raise the status of screenwriters in the entertainment industry and to have the public realize that writers often have the ‘original vision’ for hit movies.”

That’s right. For most films, it’s the writer who dreams up the story and the characters. Considering most people have never seen or read a screenplay, it’s easy to see why the screenwriter gets forgotten.

“In many ways,” says Croasmun, “being a screenwriter is still an invisible profession, so we’d like to have the public know about the creative people behind their favorite show or movie.”

To raise awareness for screenwriters and encourage people to get writing, ScreenwritingU is partnering with Final Draft, the amazing software that helps us write (version 11 is now available), PAGE Awards, one of the leading screenwriting competitions, The Script Lab, the largest screenwriting education content library, The Reel Cops, a consultation service that helps bring accuracy to the cops and crimes you write about, and Stage 32, a comprehensive social network for film and television. Together, we will be honoring screenwriters in a variety of ways and you can be part of it, too.

On Saturday, Jan. 5, please join us by posting on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #NationalScreenwritersDay.  

If you’ve just finished a screenplay or are working on a current one, feel free to include the title and logline to let other writers know what you’re working on. It’s also a day to celebrate your favorite writers, so tag them in the post. Considering awards season is upon us, you can also mention which film you think should win the Golden Globe or Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. By uplifting other writers, we can uplift the profession as a whole. 

The bottom line is to be part of the conversation about screenwriting that will be taking place on social media. 

Here’s the schedule: 

Saturday, Jan. 5th (all times are PST):  NATIONAL SCREENWRITERS DAY 

  • 8 AM:  Please tweet or post using #NationalScreenwritersDay
  • 9 AM:  Twitter party at ScreenwritingU Twitter (@WritingMag)
  • 11 AM:  Online panel with producers by Stage 32

Other events to be announced so continue to visit nationalscreenwritersday.com for updates or join our update list.

How will you celebrate National Screenwriters Day? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Shanee Edwards graduated from UCLA Film School with an MFA in Screenwriting and is currently the film critic for SheKnows.com. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her pilot, Ada and the Machine, is currently in development with America Ferrera's Take Fountain Productions. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards

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