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Why Writing a Timeless Story Is Impossible – Friday December 30, 2022

Screenwriting is a daunting process that can fill you with so much doubt. While you might know how to hit the story beats, create a beautiful outline, and follow the rules of screenwriting to a T, there is always a feeling lingering in the back of your mind that you have to write a timeless story.

But what makes a story timeless? How do we know what will and won’t stand the test of time? 

I recently rewatched films from my childhood that I loved that didn’t stand the test of time, but I can watch films from the 1940s that send a chill down my back because of how relevant that is to current society. What may be successful today might not exist in the zeitgeist of cinema in 10 years, no matter how badly you want it to, and vice versa. 

This is a realization that came to many of the writers who were invited to the Hollywood Reporter’s 2022 Writers Roundtable. Filmmakers and writers Jordan PeeleRian JohnsonChinonye ChukwuTony KushnerMartin McDonagh, and Daniel Kwan sat together to discuss all things screenwriting. During that conversation, Johnson and Kwan broke down why it is impossible to write a timeless story. 

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