Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me

December 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me


I love writing screenplays.  I always have.  It’s always been a distant dream to write a film that gets made and shown to audiences around the world.  I say distant because it’s not a simple task to accomplish and it’s easy to lose your way.  But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  Last year, for a time, I lost my way.  I was still obsessed with screenwriting but I wasn’t making time to actually write.  There was always something else to do.  It’s a poor excuse.

That’s why I dropped everything and challenged myself to do better.  As soon as I applied myself, I finished a new screenplay within two months.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you actually sit down and write.  What does that have to do with The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs?  There is a chapter in every film’s documentary that focuses on the screenwriting challenges they faced.  Three half hour chunks dedicated to each film and the passion required to realize get the screenplays done.  I.  Love.  Those.  Documentaries.

XTRA | The best special features of all time?

Adapting The Lord of the Rings was an exercise in commitment and screenwriting precision.  With such a wealth of information at their disposal, it fell to Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens to weave it all into three movies.  What I love the most is their devotion to the world of Middle Earth.  They care so much about these characters and that’s why they were so successful.  They knew the world and the characters well enough to deviate when they needed to in order to make the movies work.  It takes supreme command of the craft to pull off a screenplay based on a beloved book AND having the confidence to change things.

What’s even more inspiring was their constant need to make the screenplays better.  There were always places to improve.


There have been many instances when I felt disconnected from the characters I created.  The Lord of the Rings inspires me to continue searching for a story I believe in.  Last summer, that search led to an idea that I finally sat down and finished.  It was an amazing experience and immediately led me to another concept I care deeply about.  That’s the most inspiring thing about these films and the talent behind them.  These people cared deeply about J.R.R Tolkien’s work and wanted nothing less than perfection.  They wanted to treat every single detail with the respect it deserved.

That’s the dream.  Looking at a blank page and seeing a blank page doesn’t work.  You have to see something there.  Something you care about.  You should see new worlds, characters and the little details worthy of your passion and dedication.  It should be fun.

That type of thinking makes the blank page an inspiring sight indeed.

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me