What Does A Screenwriter Do?


Kátia Lund is a successful screenwriter, producer, and director born in São Paulo, Brazil. In school, she excelled in art and then studied at Brown University, where she graduated with honors and discovered her interest in filmmaking. Early in her career, she worked as an assistant video director; she had the opportunity to work on a music video directed by Spike Lee about Michael Jackson’s hit song “Don’t care about us,” filmed in a favela. It inspired her to help create more social awareness in Brazil. 

Her role as a screenwriter is to create an engaging story that captures the audience, and as a director, it is to interpret the story and communicate it in images. Although there are those who only direct or direct and contribute to the script, Kátia Lund does both. As a screenwriter and director, some of her most important films have revolved around the favelas. For example, she co-wrote and co-directed with João Moreira Salles the documentary News of a Personal War, which deals with violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. He also co-directed with Fernando Meirelles the film City of God (2002), nominated for four Oscars, two Baftas, and a Golden Globe. Often, screenwriters use published and successful novels for their screenplays. Therefore, they adapt them to film by shaping the characters and placing the audience in context. In other words, screenwriters not only adjust the stories but also create them, and often the success of a film depends on a good script. Braulio Mantovani, for example, adapted the story from the novel City of God written by Paulo Lins. 

Before co-directing the film City of God, Kátia co-directed with Fernando Meirelles Palace II, an award-winning short film about the life of two children in a favela. Later, in line with her social commitment, she directed one of All the Invisible Children episodes, which deals with child exploitation. Kátia Lund is also the founder of Nós do Cinema, a non-profit acting school, through which she initially recruited the cast of City of God, which teaches and provides job opportunities for low-income people. It also organizes screenings and talks to raise social awareness. 

There is a boom in TV series and Netflix and documentaries, movies, music videos, and advertising, among others. As a result, there are interesting job opportunities today for those who want to be screenwriters. If you are passionate about creating stories and expressing your creativity in this way, you must prepare yourself both in audiovisual communication and subjects related to writing. Michigan State University offers a practical online course – Write a feature-length screenplay for film or TV – on how to write a script for a feature film, in which you learn by doing. That is, by writing. If you want to see it, click HERE. In addition, there is another very innovative course given by the University of South Wales, called Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative worlds, emerging technologies, and global audiences. It teaches us how to design, share, and participate in a story that runs coherently through traditional media such as TV, movies, books, or magazines and through various digital media such as the web, videogames, and social networks, to name a few. If you are curious to understand what Transmedia Storytelling is all about, click HERE. We also identified a course you can take for free if you decide not to get a certificate. The course is Scriptwriting: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series, taught by Professor David Wheeler of the University of Michigan. It teaches you how to write an episode for a web or television series through a project. You can see it HERE.

Those who know how to develop a narrative will be able to communicate reality as they see it, show society what they may not be seeing, and give a voice to the voiceless. The creative process is often exciting and challenging. A well-told story can entertain, make us laugh, make us cry, or it can completely transform us.



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