How Writer-Crew Collaborations Are Changing the Script for the Creative Process

Ready Player One

In traditional filmmaking, once a script is written, the director and department heads break it down and figure out the costs and logistics of production. But if the screenwriter collaborates during the creative process with key crew members, the entire production can benefit.

Such collaboration offers the prospect of help on many fronts. For example, rather than pore over details of period dress, a writer can talk to a costume designer, who can aid in the research. Or, if the script calls for a spaceship to land on an alien planet, the writer can confab with a production designer who’s well versed in extraterrestrial visuals.

One director who’s a big proponent of such teamwork is Steven Spielberg. Mark Scruton, who served as supervising art director on Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” credits the director with communicating exactly what he wanted and instructing his key crew to thrash it out.

The result: close collaboration among screenwriter Zak Penn and Scruton, production designer Adam Stockhausen, DP Janusz Kaminski and first AD Adam Somner as they worked through story ideas on the film, which mingles sci-fi and VR.

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