Dictionary.com defines a screenwriter as a person who writes screenplays, especially as an occupation or profession. Dictionary.com also defines a storyteller as (1) a person who tells or writes stories or anecdotes, (2) a person who tells more or less trivial falsehoods, fibber.
So basically I'm both because I'm a storyteller who uses screenwriter because I tell my stories on a TV screen. I'm not sure if these fans were asking me an serious question or if they were insulting me and / or my writing skills but I will add this if a person can't be considered a "real" screenwriter because they write something to make it their own movie then you discount the Late Wes Craven who wrote and directed A Nightmare On Elm Street and John Carpenter who co-wrote and directed the ground breaking Halloween in 1978 which is widely considered the start of the Slasher craze in America .
while I find this an interesting question I also find it to be very insulting to the screenwriters of the world who pour their heart and soul into writing compelling stories for you the fans to enjoy when you head to the movies or when you grab a DVD / Blu ray off the shelf at the store.
People think it's easy to write a story that is compelling, complex and something that people want to read, see what most of you don't understand is screenwriters have to make their work readable for their potential cast members and if we are trying to sell out screenplay to a studio it has to be what we call a "page turner" where the reader doesn't want to put the script down because they want to see how it ends.
Personally that is my goal when I write a script because I want my cast to want to read it all the way through and I was able to accomplish this with the script for Sins of Man II : Vengeance every member of the returning cast said they loved the script and can't wait to start shooting the movie.
Lets be honest fro a moment not every screenplay we write is going to be made into a movie there are THOUSANDS of screenplays floating around Hollywood that will NEVER see the big screen, however someone like myself who started their own production company, who writes their own scripts to tell their own stories I have far less scripts floating around my office. Sins of Man : Rise of Mortis which is available on DVD on ebay to a worldwide audience was the first film under the Wicked Carnival Productions umbrella with preproduction on Sins of Man II : Vengeance in full swing we are making Low budget (No budget) horror films and we are proud of that. I would love someone to bring me their screenplay and ask me to direct and produce their work but for now I'm happy to make the Sins of Man Trilogy and then move onto other projects with Wicked Carnival Productions .
So if making my own movies that I write and direct doesn't make me a "real" screenwriter and I'm simply a storyteller in the eyes of fans, I'm okay with that because while I'm here in my office living my dream.
Now onto writing fan fiction, I did it at the beginning of my screenwriting career, I wrote a script for Halloween 3, I had no idea how to write a screenplay but I'm a passionate fan of the Halloween franchise and wanted to try writing something, I downloaded a screenwriting program Trelby and just jumped right into it. when I was done I had written enough to make scripts for Halloween 3 and 4 in the Rob Zombie Halloween series. As I have said many times I tweeted Todd Farmer about my H3 script and where to send it he gave me the best advice I have ever received "Don't sent it anywhere write your own script, create something fresh"
I then started doing some research about screenwriting, you know basic stuff the average length of a screemplay etc. so I started writing when ever I could about many different things in many different genres and even though I knew I wanted to write horror I wanted to keep my brain working on may different levels. I wrote the screenplay for Wicked Carnival and passed it around to some friends and an editor or two and they all liked it and said this needs to be made.
So what started out as a fan fiction exercise by writing a script for Halloween 3 turned into the creation of Wicked Carnival Productions and the release of Sins of Man : Rise of Mortis on Halloween 2015.
While I'm not a fan of fan fiction as a whole because for the most part I see it as a waste of time because we are writing about characters that we have no legal right to write about and it could very quickly become a legal matter I think fan fiction is import in the growth of budding writers worldwide because it gives us a voice, I went from writing ONE fan fiction screenplay to now having over a dozen scripts ready to be made into feature length films .
Take the passion you have for your fan fiction and channel it into an original idea and original characters and you could be writing books, comics, short stories or hell even making movies in no time.
To those fans that have no interest in doing more then fan fiction for the sake of writing about their favorite characters and stories good for you but like I said I don't see the point in writing fan fiction because you can't be paid for your work because you don't own the intellectual property (Characters / Stories) that you are writing about .
I would love to hear from some fan fiction writers about why they write what they write and maybe you can change my opinion on fan fiction, I understand the passion behind it but the thing I don't understand is why write something and spend all that time on it when you can't release it to the world ? Like I said I basically started my screenwriting career with a fan fiction but then after that ONE fan fiction script that I wrote I have created over a dozen scripts that are my original works to make into movies.
I would like to make it clear that while I don't do fan fiction writing I don't discredit it in anyway some people enjoy doing it as their creative outlet (which I think everyone needs a creative outlet) I just don't see the point of taking all the time in creating something that you can't share with the world on a large scale. I understand that not everyone is comfortable with putting them selves and their work out into the world because once you do you will be judged for it both positive and negative and some people honestly don't have the ability to take the judgement of others. I struggled even during the preproduction of Sins of Man : Rise of Mortis with the fear of rejection, the fear of failure, and the nagging thought of "what if I'm not good enough to do this" and I'll tell you we ALL have those feelings at some point but you have to ut your work out there if you want to share it with the world otherwise what's the point of all the hours, days, months it took to create it if you're not going to share it with the world ?
I make movies so I can share my work, my love of horror, my passion for the genre with horror fans worldwide. I don't do it for fame or money I love horror and I honestly want to leave my mark on the genre so my kids can watch this movie when they are older and be proud of their dad for chasing his dream and I hope to inspire them and others to believe that ANYTHING is possible if YOU believe you can do it .
Stay Hungry, Stay Humble my friends :)