The influence of TikTok on creative writing of screenplays

Guest blog by Elissa McGaw

Due to its rapid international growth and audience feedback, research investigating the methods of successful screenplay writing for the social media platform, TikTok, is warranted to elucidate its potential career benefits for a screenwriter.

This project aims to create an article that can be used by academics and industry professionals to analyse and think about the various aspects of screenplay writing that can be applied to the multimedia platform, TikTok. To assess obstacles a screenplay writer needs to overcome when creating a TikTok series, the author adapted a short detective story, “The Curious Case of the Billionaire’s Business Partner” into a screenplay, following the principles of Aristotles’ two and three-act screenplay format.

First, the author observed that a three-act screenplay was not appropriate for short TikTok posts, and a two-act screenplay is practical while rewriting complex scenes, which aids in more creative rewrites.

Second, TikTok users are more interactive with new content vs other multi-media platforms, and new creative writers can easily engage with the audience to find out what is popular.

Third, writing a TikTok series screenplay that is an adaptation of an original short story offers more challenging external environmental and financial constraints than traditional screenplay writing and encourages flexible and quicker rewrites.

Conducting qualitative interviews with TikTok content creators facilitated elucidation of the opportunities and frontiers TikTok provides for emerging creative writers. This investigation discovered that many stories can be told on the TikTok platform other than the proposed detective short story that has been adapted into a screenplay series.

Finally, TikTok is a perfect platform for emerging writers to launch their careers and create a writing portfolio regardless of their preferred genre. 

Contributed by Elissa McGaw.

Elissa McGaw is Gold Coast writer currently completing the last semester of a Master’s in Creative Writing. Her short story, Forced, was published in the 2020 GCWA anthology, Short Yarns for Big Imaginations Volume II.

As part of her degree programme, Elissa has written an article on the hurdles and opportunities for emerging screenplay writers, focusing on the social media platform TikTok.

Elissa wrote an original short story and adapted the story as a part of the screenplay series. The article interviews industry professionals and compares their expert advice with her own personal experience documented during the creative writing process. 

Read more of Elissa’s articles here –

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