What If Steve Jobs Was A Screenwriter?

May 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

What If Steve Jobs Was A Screenwriter? | Steve Jobs Book Review


“My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.  Everything else was secondary.  Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products.  But the products, not the profits, were the motivation…

‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach.  Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.” (Steve Jobs p567)

I’m an Apple fan.  For years I resisted because I felt Windows based PCs offered more of what I was looking for.  Of course, my theory was proven wrong the day I got my iMac with Final Cut Pro.  Since that day, the Apple brand has been a vital part of my creative life.

The combination of my iMac, iPhone and iPad keeps me connected to whatever project I’m working on at all times.  I write screenplays, I write blogs, I create graphics, I edit movies.  I create…  I create every day thanks to the creativity of Steve Jobs and the talented designers and engineers at Apple.

XTRA | Why the iPad 2 is the center of my creative universe.

Creative people are fueled by the creativity of others.  This is especially true when it comes to the marriage of creativity and technology.  Steve Jobs believed this to be a fundamental component of innovation.

“What drove me?  I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us.” (Steve Jobs p570)

When I opened the cover of Steve Jobs b Walter Isaacson, I was excited to find out more behind the iCEO himself.  When Steve Jobs passed away, the world lost a true visionary and his story fascinated me.  The book itself is absolutely incredible as it describes each and every triumph and defeat Jobs experienced.

But something interesting happened as I turned the pages…  I started relating Steve’s passion and innovation to the world of screenwriting.  Once that happened, I couldn’t put the book down.

What If Steve Jobs Was A Screenwriter? | Steve Jobs Book Review Walter isaacson

Inspiration.  Motivation. Innovation.  Creativity.  Passion.  Dedication.  Commitment.  Sound familiar?

These are the common themes throughout the book but they are also present in the hearts of creative people around the world every day.  In this way, Steve Jobs’ story goes beyond the story of a man who changed the world.  It’s about the very essence of creativity and the quest for perfection.

In my own life, I associate these themes with Screenwriting.

“We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings.” (Steve Jobs p570)

If Steve Jobs was a screenwriter, he would have scrutinized every word.  Every character would be constantly tested.  Each and every description would be reworked until the image was perfected in the reader’s minds.  Steve would have paid extra close attention to the amount of white space he used.  He would have agonized over names and locations.  He would have poured his heart into every scene.  Every moment.

If Steve Jobs was a screenwriter, he would have been tireless and relentless on his quests to get his scripts produced.  If a script wasn’t successful, he would have been angry at first but then he would break it down and find ways to make it better.  He would analyze every single detail and demand better of himself.  Steve Jobs would have believed in his vision.  He wouldn’t have quit until he succeeded.  The story had to come first.

If Steve Jobs was a screenwriter he would have been passionate.  He would have been dedicated, innovative and precise.  Most of all, he would have cared immensely about the audience and how his screenplays would make them feel.

It’s an inspiring thing to read about somebody who cared so deeply about his craft.   Even better, he surrounded himself with remarkable and talented individuals.  People who made him better.  Take Jony Ive for example.  This is a designer responsible for many of Apple’s defining innovations and a visionary in his own right.

“Simplicity isn’t just a visual style.  It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter.  It involves digging through the depth of the complexity.  To be truly simple, you have to go really deep.” (Jony Ive p343)

It’s an interesting quote when you apply it to screenplays.  Especially during the rewrite process.  People like Jony Ive were crucial components in the execution of Steve’s ambition.  Of course, film is also a collaborative medium and while crafting a screenplay is a solo effort, a script destined for bigger things.  Steve Jobs would have not only understood this.  He would have embraced it.

Beyond anything else, Steve was never satisfied.  If he created a product that changed the world he set out to create something better or entirely new.  To me, that’s the most exciting aspect of screenwriting.  Every time you begin a new story it’s a new adventure.  A new world.  A new you.

“If you want to live your life in a  creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much.  You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.” (Steve Jobs p190)

Each new story represents an evolution of your creativity.  A chance to really say something.  It’s a freedom that screenwriters crave.  It’s an addiction that takes a hold of you.


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