Isn’t a screenplay just a “blueprint” for a movie? In my opinion? No. A screenplay is a work of art unto itself.
Check out these quotes from Quentin Tarantino. One of the greatest screenwriters of all time.
When I heard these it only solidified my conviction that this was a viable artistic option and, more importantly, a perfectly valid one.
“When I’m writing it’s about the page. It’s not about the movie. It’s not about cinema or anything. It’s about the literature of me putting my pen to paper and writing a good page and making it work completely as a literature document unto itself. That’s my first artistic contribution.”
“If I do my job right by the end of the script I should be having the thought: ‘you know, if I were to just publish this now and not make it I’m done. I’ve done it’. I could actually be okay with saying that that’s it."
“I want to love that script so much that I’m tempted to stop and not make the movie. There’s stuff that’s in the script that will never make the movie but will make the book, the piece of literature, better. It will make it a better read. It’s more emotionally satisfying.”
“It’s writing. That’s what writers do. I’ve never understood the concept of the screenplay being a blueprint for the movie. I do write them like novels. It’s not crazy prose but there is a commitment to the prose. There is a literary narrator talking to the audience who is reading it and these scripts are meant to be read. It is so NOT a blueprint. It is a novel with the exception of the dialogue broken down in screenplay format.”
These were all pulled from this YouTube video. I’ve only quoted the parts where he talks about screenplays being literary pieces unto themselves but really the whole thing is a great listen (about 10 minutes total in length). Great stuff for any screenwriter or filmmaker.