As more of our big summer movies go 3-D, Steve Zeitchik wonders how it affects screenwriting:

But even as Hollywood goes z-axis crazy, many directors and writers are questioning the stampede. While they express a general enthusiasm for the form, they say executives don’t always grasp all the complexities of adding that extra dimension. As the 3-D storm continues to gather, they point out that 3-D will affect much more than whether a filmgoer picks up a pair of glasses: It will change what films get made, and even the very nature of cinematic storytelling.

I think that’s overstating it.

In the short term, yes, the rush towards 3-D may affect the kinds of movies that get greenlit. But the underlying “nature of cinematic storytelling” doesn’t tend to change much even in the face of tremendous technical innovations. Color and widescreen were both huge changes, but their impact on story and screenwriters were very minor. (Sync sound was obviously a Very Big Deal, since it allowed characters to speak.)

I’m currently writing a film which is designed to be black-and-white and 3-D. Reading the script, you’d never know it. A few times, I’ve had to remind myself not to describe things as red. But beyond a joke at the outset, I never needed to acknowledge the 3-D — just as I never mention the dolly or color-timing in scene description.

For screenwriters, 3-D is something that may come up in a pitch, but will have very little impact on the written word.