From Mikael Colville-Andersen’s, A Brief History of Hollywood Dramaturgy and Modern Screenplay Structure: A journey over time and borders (title only slightly shorter than the article):

The seeds [of Hollywood dramaturgy] were sown in France. Alexandre Dumas [Sr.] … was a prolific writer of literature and plays. He got the idea of employing 12 writers to help him get all his ideas down on paper and, therefore, was party to the first “writing factory”. [Emphasis mine.]

… Nordisk [Film], the oldest film company in the world today, controlled the lion’s share of the world s film market in the years between 1906-1914. … Films were cranked out at a dizzying pace using, more or less, a screenwriting framework [emphasis mine] laid out by all the aforementioned people [Dumas Sr. & Jr., Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, etc.].

What’s interesting is that Dumas needed to create a dramaturgy with a strong structure for his team of writers to work within.

Also, when the movie industry experienced its golden age, films probably had to be released at a steady pace to satisfy market demands, so they needed a format to follow. This reminds me of something I read about Warner Brothers cartoons in the 30s–50s.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on August 10, 2003. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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