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I predict that the year 2019 may end up being one of the most important years in film in the 21st century, at least in the US. There are two primary reasons for this, one perhaps more important for screenwriters than the other.
The first is not just that Netflix has completely changed the way movies are made and distributed (they had really done that before), but that this year they really had the content to cement their hold on the film world in this area. I didn’t like all the films they made and distributed (I’m not a big The Irishman fan), but overall, their production of such films as The Marriage Story, The Two Popes, Paddleton, The King, Dolemite Is My Name, The Laundromat, I Lost My Body, and the previously referenced The Irishman equaled or exceeded those of the Studios and major independents in quality.
So this year might end up being what they would call a game changer in production and distribution of films (especially if production companies start buying movie theaters again).
However, there is an even more important develop of pertinence to screenwriters. This year marked the year of the emergence of the new generation of filmmakers. In some ways it felt before this that there might not even be a new generation at all. But this year saw an amazing number of films by 21st century filmmakers (some beginning in the last ten years) that gained a lot of attention, made a great deal of money, garnered strong critical acclaim and are awards contenders-or some combination of the above.
All in one year.
Some of these films include: Under the Silver Lake, The Farewell, Little Women, Uncut Gems, You Were Never Really Here, The Lighthouse, Queen and Slim, Just Mercy, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Clemency, Booksmart, Paddleton, Us and many others. These are the filmmakers who for the most part only recently started making films, and even more recently, making features.
We now have the new guard who is going toe to toe and quietly overcoming the previous generation of Baumbach and Tarantino and the even more previous generation of Martin Scorcese.
But what does this have to do with new screenwriters? Easy: if you want to get ahead in the business and make films, study how these filmmakers did it. They are your contemporaries. The way they make films now should be the way you should be making films. They way they got ahead in the business should be the way you are getting ahead in the business.
This is your present that could lead to your future. Learn and take advantage of it.