Screenwriting Workshops: Pros And Cons

(MENAFN- daily news egypt) egyptian tv series were always based on literature by great writers, therefore, there were valuable works, as they presented real characters of flesh and blood and discussed philosophical topics in a refined literary formulation. moreover, the writer's ultimate goal was to improve the language of dialogue. therefore, you will find old works still engraved in the hearts of viewers until now.

in the satellite channels era, we began to watch american series, which depend mainly on long dialogues. the standards of those works were different, as the longer the work, the more desirable it was. we have seen series that exceed thousands of episodes, such as“the bold and the beautiful,” and they used to call this type of drama“soap operas”. unfortunately, egyptian drama tended to imitate this type of series, especially after the death of great writers such as naguib mahfouz, youssef idris, ihsan abdel quddous, and others. since then, egyptian drama has begun to decline.

it got worse after the emergence of the turkish soap operas, so we began to suffer from two main problems, first, the poor level of drama, and second, the lack of conformity of this drama to egyptian reality. egyptian drama presents turkish stories in an egyptian dialect, and writers did not take into account in this period the vast difference between turkish and egyptian cultures, which was built on the basis of reverence for family life and family ties. these works brought strange ideas to our society, and unfortunately, young people started blindly imitating them.

today, we have the collective writing or screenwriting workshops that distorted egyptian drama to a large extent. the sixth season of“layali el-helmia” was the best example. it was written by ayman bahjat qamar and amr mahmoud yassin. both presented very good works separately. but when they presented a work together, the viewers dispersed between the two, because each of them had his own vision.

we witnessed many series written in workshops, but they did not achieve success. this does not mean that i am against youth, but writing is an exceptional talent, and each writer has a special style so you can know the name of the writer through his style without reading his name on the credits of the series. are the works of osama anwar okasha similar to the works of mohamed galal abdel-qawi? of course, not. each of them has his own style of writing. there is, of course, a large list of names of writers with talent and intellect, but i wanted to clarify with an example of the two writers whose fame has gone beyond the arab world. i am not fighting new ideas here, but there are rules that cannot be crossed. a writer must have a vision, philosophy, goals, and most importantly the ability to complete his work on his own.

egyptian drama today is in trouble, especially after the absence of great writers, actors, and directors, so the artistic family tree is almost empty after most of its leaves have fallen. i hope that the drama makers will pay attention to this obvious fact, which makes us in real need to benefit from the experiences of the rest of the golden generation to train young people, nurture, search for, and support real talents, and in the coming lines we will discuss this issue.

i refuse it

director mohamed fadel says: i am against screenwriting workshops since i heard about them. this is because the work of art is subjective and it is not right for a painting to be painted by three or four people standing in front of it... or a piece of music to be composed by three composers... or a poem to be written by more than one person or a novel or even a short story... this we have not heard of before and it is not true because art is subjective. therefore, i do not know why they fragmented the scenario and permitted things that are not consistent with creativity in its various cultural colors. and of course, as a result of this, you do not find the names of authors rising and shining alongside the existing professors who are known for their excellence, such as abdul rahim kamal, who writes alone and does not own a workshop.

magdy saber

the artistic work needs the spirit, ideas, and culture of one person in order for its content to touch the conscience of people and to be influential with its artistic elements and message that it includes between its scenes and its episodes... if we look back a little, we will find that the great screenwriting masters such as mohamed galal abdel qawi, magdy saber, osama anwar okasha, mahfouz abdel rahman, and other brilliant people were far away from the idea of writing workshops. in summary, in this regard, i see that the scriptwriting workshops harmed the drama industry and did not benefit it in any way. therefore, we must return to the right path, which is relying on the single creator in writing if we want to advance this industry.

it has evolved with time

directorinam mohamed ali says: screenwriting workshops may be successful or disappointing. this is due to the level of the group in writing and the ability and professionalism of their supervisor. an example of this is hisham obeya, the supervisor of the writing group for the“imam” series, which was shown during the last ramadan season and was praised by many. we must pay tribute in this work to the fact that khaled al-nabawi was able to embody his personality, and he is an excellent actor, and he worked with me in his early years when he was in his first year at the institute. but apart from all this, i still do not understand the issue of writing the script for a work by a group of writers, and not by one writer. this is because thought, culture, and expression differ from person to person. if we look at the prize-winning works, we will find them by one writer, such as“ghamam island” by abdul rahim kamal. it is worth noting that at the beginning of the emergence of writing workshops after the arab spring in 2011, they were not successful due to people's criticism of the work that resulted from them. this is where most of them were transferred from foreign works and far from the egyptian spirit and devoid of vision, purpose, and message. but over the years, things changed and some of them gained experience, and the writing group became supervised by a skilled writer at times, so some good works came out, as we mentioned earlier about the“imam” series and the role of hisham obayya in producing a coherent and harmonious text from a writing workshop.

it is not a new phenomenon

critic khairiya al-bishlawi says: screenplay workshops are not a new thing, as they exist all over the world. it is more correct to look at the output of these workshops. if it is good, it will show us that the members of this workshop are strong. on the contrary, if the result was bad, it indicated to us that the members of the workshop were weak. so, it is not the workshop in itself that is disturbing, but rather the members of these workshops, if they are not talented, will not produce anything of artistic value that can be witnessed. the most important thing is that we do not condemn the workshop, but we condemn the product if it is not good. and the issue of the proliferation of workshops highlights the absence of the individual writer from the arena. this is because if there were good texts by one writer, the drama makers would not resort to a writing workshop. the television drama industry is subject to the mood of the audience and to a mixture that is difficult to determine, but the talented writer can adapt to the mood of the masses and come up with a good script. in conclusion, the workshop is not responsible for its spread, but the decline in individual creativity is the reason.

it hurts the industry

screenwriter magdy saber says: i see that screenplay workshops have caused a defect in the dramatic construction of the artwork. you feel as you watch the work that there is disintegration in the events that should be interconnected. i mean that it is not right for a number of writers to come together to write one text for one work of art, because each one of them has his own method, style, and ideas. therefore, this difference cannot produce a product that has a unified structure in everything... it will often result in a product that we feel disjointed in its entirety. to a large extent, we find very sleazy works devoid of the disciplined plot, escalation, and sequence that makes us walk from the beginning to the knot to the climax to the solution, which are the basics of proper drama, and this is not good. i invite the writer to write alone in his own style and imagination and to leave the workshops for training and graduating screenwriters who have learned this art through its real creators. but i refuse for script workshops to be a substitute for individual screenwriters by writing their works on their own from a to z. this is if we want to restore our artistic leadership in the region.


Daily News Egypt

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