National Screenwriters Day – January 5, 2022

National Screenwriters Day is celebrated on January 5 in recognition of the writers who toil day and night to bring us the best stories, the ultimate zingers, and the sublime messages that steer our conscience. Screenwriters capture the imagination of society. The shows and movies we enjoy would be nothing without the pen of a devoted writer. Let’s honor the great screenwriters amongst us and take a pledge to give them their due credit. 

History of National Screenwriters Day

America’s love for cinema goes back a century. There were movies even before there was a video recorder. But the passion for telling stories in the form of plays and skits is a millennia-long affair. Regardless of the medium, multiple forms of storytelling have existed in every organized society. And when there’s a story to tell, there’s always a screenwriter who has to find the perfect way to tell it. 

A screenwriter’s most important job is to determine how a scene will look on a screen. The entire movie or episode is constructed as per their vision. A good screenwriter can override the shortcomings of production or lack of acting talent, whereas a bad screenwriter can turn the biggest budgets and A-list casting to dust. 

Screenwriters work under immense pressure and are often asked to make changes at a moment’s notice. They work alongside researchers, culture experts, and historians to build a foolproof storyline. Their deadlines are tied to the logistical requirements of directors and producers. They accommodate the creative demands of the dialogue writer and the actor’s comfort levels. 

Sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn’t it? Now ask yourself how many famous screenwriters do you personally know of? It’s always the actors who get to be the face of the films, seldom is it the mind behind a story who is honored. National Screenwriters Day is a part of a movement that seeks to change that. In 2016, “Screenwriting Magazine”, an online publication, declared January 5 as National Screenwriters Day to honor screenwriters’ tremendous contributions. 

National Screenwriters Day timeline

1920
The First Union

After a decade of failed attempts, 12 established writers come together to form the Screen Writers Guild.

1927
The Great Turmoil

Historic trends cause the union's efforts to become inactive.

1954
The Big Split

The Screen Writers Guild splits into two geographical sections: the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Writers Guild of America, West.

2016
Screenwriting Recognition

“Screenwriting Magazine”, an independent publication, dedicates January 5 to honor the tremendous talent behind our favorite shows and movies.

National Screenwriters Day FAQs

What is the difference between screenwriting and playwriting?

Screenwriting focuses on the action with film as a visual medium while playwriting is based on the dialogues with narration as a medium. To simplify, a written script focuses on what the audience will see, whereas a written play focuses on what the audience will hear. 

What qualifications do you need to become a screenwriter?

You don’t need professional qualifications to be a screenwriter. All you need is a passion for writing, the skill to market yourself, knowledge of tv/film production, proficiency in your chosen language, communication skills, and the persistence to make a name for yourself in the entertainment industry.

How can I become a Screen Writers Guild of America member?

All credited writers with experience can become S.W.G.A. members. Applicants for the union must have a minimum of 24 units under their belt, three years before filing for membership. They must also provide a once-off initiation fee of $2,500, due immediately after the application is accepted. 

National Screenwriters Day Activities

  1. Host a storytelling competition

    Honor the storytellers by doing what they do. Doesn’t matter who wins or loses, as long as everyone gets to share their stories with the world.

  2. Learn a screenwriter’s name, or a dozen

    List your favorite movies or some of the most memorable dialogues and google the screenwriters who created them. It’s also a great way to learn about the filmography of your favorite cinematic wordsmith.

  3. Share the love on social media

    This National Screenwriters Day, share your favorite scene from a movie and credit the screenwriter behind it on your social media accounts. Don’t forget to them and use the hashtag #NationalScreenwritersDay.

5 Crazy Ex-professions Of The Most Famous Screenwriters Of Our Time

  1. Cameron, the truck driver

    James Cameron, the highest-grossing screenwriter of all time, spent his time driving a truck around California before venturing to Hollywood.

  2. Sorkin, the house sitter

    Aaron Sorkin, the genius behind “The Wire”, drove a limo, took care of empty homes, and did many odd jobs before he stumbled upon a typewriter.

  3. Richard, the rig worker

    Richard Linklater, the man behind the memorable “Before Sunset” trilogy worked at an off-shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico before writing an award-winning screenplay.

  4. Meyers, the cheesecake seller

    Nancy Meyers, the rom-com queen behind “It’s Complicated” started a cheesecake business before delving into the business of telling stories.

  5. Goldman, the Pentagon clerk

    William Goldman, the author of oscar-winning screenplays such as All the President’s Men, worked as a clerk in the Pentagon before taking a swing at Hollywood.

Why We Love National Screenwriters Day

  1. Dialogues are forever

    Every single dialogue that you love came from the pen of a screenwriter. Next time you want to lift your speech with a popular catchphrase, be sure to google the writer who coined it.

  2. Screenwriters are underappreciated

    Although a script is the skeleton of the film, the screenwriters never get their due credit. Their immense contribution to pop culture goes grossly unnoticed. It’s good we have January 5 to change this narrative.

  3. Cinema is magic

    Thousands of people from every possible background, coming together to work on a project stretched through years, bound by the white papers of a screenwriter — yeah, cinema is magic. On National Screenwriters Day, we honor the ultimate storytellers.

National Screenwriters Day dates

YearDateDay
2021January 5Tuesday
2022January 5Wednesday
2023January 5Thursday
2024January 5Friday
2025January 5Sunday

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