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Title: An exploration of the applicability of Linda Aronson's flashback theory as a framework for the practice of screenwriting
Author: Scott-Webb, Shirley
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 5750
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2011
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An exploration of the applicability of Linda Aronson's flashback theory as a framework for the practice of screenwriting. This practice-based PhD comprises an original screenplay for a biopic of the life and trial of 20th century Scottish medium Helen Duncan, entitled Hellish Nell, and a thesis which reflects the process of writing the script using Linda Aronson's flashback narrative structures. The central focus of this thesis is to explore the applicability of Aronson's theoretical frameworks first circulated in Screen writing Updated in 2000 through the various stages of script development. The Introduction examines what a flashback is and its uses. It sets out Linda Aronson's theoretical framework on flashback narrative structure, in particular her theory on case history and thwarted dream. It also reviews the historical sources of my screenplay and examines the creative practice of exploring through biographic drama a complex and unresolved historical figure. Chapter One investigates Aronson's flashback theory in more detail, how it is assessed and applied. It also explores the issues attendant upon writing biographical drama with specific reference to Aronson's framework. It also examines her three sub-sets and explains why they were excluded from my development work. Finally it covers what areas will be investigated in more detail in the rest of the thesis. Chapter Two sets up the background and story of Helen Duncan, the Scottish medium and psychic. It then focuses on Aronson's thwarted dream and case history narrative structures, and the results that arose from testing their applicability against my own writing practice. The first section deals with the examination of Aronson's thwarted dream narrative structure through the development of Surfacing for Air, my initial attempt at a screenplay. The results were of paramount importance as it was through this initial investigation that the significance of theme and genre were first identified. It also painted to the crucial role of point-of-view. This led to these areas of concern being explored further in the examination of Aronson's case history narrative structure, through the development of the final screenplay, Hellish Nell. The second section explores the development of this screenplay and also assesses the applicability of case history to my own script and writing practice. It illustrates the details of the amendments and the decisions involved in those changes and an analysis of the stages of my research development. It also investigates the impact of genre and theme in determining the content of the links between present and past stories. Chapter Three analyses four contemporary films which involve flashbacks in the light of Aronson's theoretical framework and tests the impact of genre and theme when deciding where the dramatic connections should be between past and present stories and in determining their content. The conclusion provides a modified version of Aronson's flashback theory in the light of the research and analysis undertaken. It also provides new additional questions based on the use of genre and theme when assessing the content of flashback sequences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film studies