The present article aims to address a current gap in our understanding of creativity in screenplay writing by focusing on the cognitive, conative, affective, and environmental factors that come into play at different stages in the creative process. It reports a study employing in-depth interviews with 22 recognized French screenplay writers. The findings reveal a series of distinct but interrelated stages in screenplay writing, starting, in general, from a long and enjoyable phase of impregnation, followed in some, but not all cases, by a formal phase of structuring (writing an outline and or treatment), and, finally, intense periods of writing and rewriting the script. These 3 stages, and, in particular, the multiple and concrete decisions to be taken within each one of them, support a vision of the creative process in this domain metaphorically conceptualized as crossing a maze. Creators prepare for this “journey,” create “maps,” and then enter the maze navigating through various true path segments and blind alleys. This maze is seldom traveled alone, the followed path is not linear, and there are several back-and-forth movements before reaching the “exit,” which is represented by the “final” version of the script. These findings are discussed using central ideas from a number of theories, and ideas for future research are proposed.
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2014, Vol 8, Issue 4, p. 384-399