The Instigator
voxprojectus
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Raisor
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Writers mean more to the enjoyability of movies than directors or actors.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Raisor
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/18/2014 Category: Arts
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,264 times Debate No: 56831
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

voxprojectus

Pro

First round is for acceptance. I believe terms are clearly defined as they are, but if any potential opponents would like to clarify in comments before we start, I'd be happy to do so.

My central thesis is that a movie that has a great director and great actors but a terrible script will be hard to watch. By contrast, a movie with a great script, good actors and a terrible director OR bad actors but a good director will still overall be enjoyable to watch.

None of this takes financial success into consideration (and in that debate I go with actors as being the main drivers of box office returns in the absense of other good components) so don't bother linking me the financials of a film and saying that it proves the movie was more enjoyable.

Lastly, we do not count "so bad it's good" movies. A.) those debatebly are still more driven by the writer, even if it's in a negative direction and B.) someone like Ed Wood is hard to quantify.

I thank anyone who shows interest and look forward to a spirited discussion.
Raisor

Con


My thesis is that the enjoyability of films is impacted by the complex interaction of all aspects of their authors – writers, actors, directors all contribute to the enjoyability of a movie in such a way that it is not possible to single out any one as being more important than the others in a general sense.


This does not mean that individual films are not exemplary of how a single aspect of filmmaking can shine through and carry the day. The resolution is about the artistic medium of film as a whole; from this perspective the creative input of writers, actors, and directors are all equally important to making enjoyable films.


Pro’s framework for evaluating the Resolution is fundamentally flawed. We shouldn’t be looking at what aspects of a move can be done poorly and still result in a passably enjoyable movie; we should be concerned with what is needed to create the most enjoyable movies. Great writers, directors, and actors are needed to create great and enjoyable films


A) The lack of counterfactual examples makes it difficult to evaluate the importance of any single element of a film to the overall enjoyability. We may point to a film and say “this movie is enjoyable because of its exceptional script,” but we are unable to isolate whether the movie would still have been enjoyable with the same actors and directors but a poorer version of the script. We have only one version of the movie to evaluate, so we cannot tell which variables contributed most to its enjoyabiltiy. This generates epistemic uncertainty that renders the Resolution untenable.


B) It is impossible to evaluate script quality in a vacuum. Actors give life to the words of a script and directors can frame action and dialogue such that sub-par scripts can appear to be effective. Directors also choose how the written words of screenplay are emphasized and influence how they are performed. A skilled director or actor can bring dull words to life or bring clarity to a patchy screenplay. Any evaluation of a film’s acting, screenplay, and directing will inevitably be colored by how well the other aspects of the film were carried out.


C) There are plenty of examples of films with bad scripts that were phenomenally successful. The dialogue of Gravity was universally panned by critics as clunky and distracting, but the movie was hugely successful commercially and praised for its engrossing cinematography and gripping acting performances. Avatar was generally criticized for its clichéd script- riddled with “noble savage” tropes and a rehash of Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves- but was praised for fantastic visuals.


D) Even the best screenplay can be mangled. Anyone who has been to a middle-school play knows that bad actors and directors can render even the best writing unenjoyable. No amount of eloquent writing can save a movie from ham-fisted actors or a hack director. It is not at all hard for directors and actors to ruin a good script. This disproves Pro’s central thesis.


E) Pro’s thesis ignores the distinguishing feature of film as a medium – its visual nature. Film is different from books, radio, and even live theater due the great control over visual story telling it offers. Much of film criticism centers on the visual nature of movies, but the writers have very little influence on this aspect of a movie. Many of the most iconic moments in film history have nothing to do with the script and everything to do with directors and actors. The “Flight of the Valkyries” scene in Apocalypse Now (or Fellini’s 8 ½, powerful music creates compelling film), the opening scene of the Lion King showing the movement of animals across the savannah, and the climactic fight scene of The Matrix are all definitive both to the individual films and to films history as a whole yet have little to do with script writing.


The Shining is a prime example of how all aspects of an enjoyable movie are indispensable. The Shining would have been an average horror movie with Kubrick’s intense attention to detail and iconic use of the visual medium. Emotional punch is generated by scenes such as the long tracking shot following Danny on his tricycle through the hotel and the overhead shots of the hedge maze. Incredible performances by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall gave more depth to the story than any amount of additional dialogue could have. The most memorable line in this movie wasn’t even in the script – Jack Nicholson improvised the line “Here’s Johnny!” The actors and director were arguably much more important to this film than the screenplay.


Debate Round No. 1
voxprojectus

Pro

voxprojectus forfeited this round.
Raisor

Con

As my opponent has forfeited his opportunity to rebut my arguments, I urge the judges to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2
voxprojectus

Pro

voxprojectus forfeited this round.
Raisor

Con

My opponent has again forfeited, please vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
voxprojectus

Pro

voxprojectus forfeited this round.
Raisor

Con

Once again my opponent has forfeited, please vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by bossyburrito 2 years ago
bossyburrito
If there were no actors, the script would be useless - ergo, actors are just as important as the script.
Posted by voxprojectus 2 years ago
voxprojectus
I can try. Can you help me focus on which part you aren't following?
Posted by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
ChosenWolff
Can you clarify your resolution?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
voxprojectusRaisorTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
voxprojectusRaisorTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture