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Writing Plays/Screenwriting/Is it alright not to appreciate 'great films'


Dear Sir,

May I ask this question?

Is it alright not to appreciate 'great films'? I mean, is it normal for a screenwriter, even an excellent one, to love some films but not other films, which are considered as classic films? Is it human to be in that situation, or all excellent screenwriters would appreciate those in the canon?

My sincere thanks,

No, it is not all right for a dedicated screenwriter to not appreciate "great" films. Now, before you throw your computer across the room and vow to hunt me down, hear me!

I'm using "appreciate" to mean what the dictionary says it means: to recognize the full value of the something; to understand it. If films have withstood the test of time and are still held up as objects of art to be praised, a serious screenwriter must, whenever possible, see them, read their screenplays, ruminate over them, and recognize their full value.

That is apart and separate from liking them, enjoying them, approving of them. Believe you me, there are plenty of "classic" movies I don't care for. But I do try my best to appreciate them. After all, they most likely, on an objective basis, provide one or more elements of great value. But I still don't like them.

The bonus to taking this approach is that, in some cases, your opinion changes! I disliked "Animal House" for many years after I first saw it. Lately, my opinion has changed. I now like it. And in between, I always appreciated it.

Hope this helps. Feel free to follow up. Or contact me on my blog:


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Roger S. H. Schulman


I can answer questions on the creative aspects of writing for features and television comedy: brainstorming, character development, plotting, story structure, dialog, rewriting, editing, etc. I can also address the business side of show business: pitching, writing and presenting treatments, "taking" meetings, common pitfalls, etc. I'm also well versed in the relationship between screenwriting and computers: software for scriptwriting, brainstorming, presentation, outlining, an d general organization. I'm also a producer, and so can answer questions regarding the ins and outs of television production, specifically the half-hour arena. Visit my scriptwriting blog at


I have been working in Hollywood as a screenwriter for both TV and features for many years. I'm an Executive Producer and "showrunner" who has run several prime-time and cable comedies. I've written several featurs and contributed to many more for several major studios.

Writers Guild of America, West

Newsweek, BusinessWeek, GQ, Connoisseur, UPI, New York Daily News, please visit my blog at

I have a Masters of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.

Awards and Honors
Academy Award Nomination, Best Adapted Screenplay British Academy Award, Best Adapted Screenplay Emmy Award Nomination, Best New Series NAACP "Image" Award, Best Television Comedy "Annie" Award, Best Animated Film

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