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Mad-lib films


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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Anna Roe

By Anna Roe
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 14, 2000
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Computers have helped the world process things faster and easier. They have given a world-wide standard to many things. But what happens when technology tries to make art easier? A prime example could be computer programs designed to write screenplays for the user.

A recent New York Times article examined software used to correct scripts or actually write a script for the user.

According to the article, there are a considerable amount of books, magazines and classes offered to help screenwriters develop their own style and format. But these resources apparently aren't enough for some screenwriters who provide a market for programs like 'Write a Blockbuster,' 'FirstAid for Writers' and 'Dramatica.' These programs only cost the desperate, 'creative' screenwriters about $200-$300.

The programs look at movies formulaically, which consequently make for an extremely predictable film.

This could be why so many blockbuster movies seem to have a predicable format - these programs allow anyone to become a screenwriter. The problem with this is that not everyone should be able to be one.

Apparently, the creators of these programs have forgotten that the ability to write a script with complex, intertwining, thought-provoking scenes is considered an art form. Even if a computer could duplicate these ingredients of a genuine film, it's cheating. The audience paid to see a movie written by a human with either similar experiences portrayed on the screen or at least had the imagination to sacrifice a part of their life to achieve something worth presenting.

For anyone to plug in some variables the computer requested and quickly have a complete script is unfair to true screenwriters and is insulting to the audience.

There is computer art, and there is art that can only be produced by humans. Computers create electronica music and have broadened the boundaries of graphic design. Both these contributions to the art world are appreciated, because they create what humans can't.

Writing, painting and sculpting should be exclusively created by humans.

For millions of years, art has given the human race an understanding of themselves. Art evokes emotions in us because we appreciate art aesthetically, as well as the story behind the artist. Behind each piece created, there is a story about the creator that we wish to know. Be it Picasso or Hitchcock, the audience is not only intrigued by their work, but by their personal story as well.

These programs allow anyone without inspiration or a passion for the art to create a film, or a money generating venture. To the user of the software, the film is just a commodity.

This is not to say people aren't already doing this, because everyone has been a witness to movies with no substance other than special effects, but it should not be encouraged as these software programs are blatantly doing.

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