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Title: At the crossing : changing perceptions, technologies and screenplay functions in contemporary cinema
Author: Finnegan, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 223X
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2018
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The aim of this research is to explore the unseen contributions of screenwriters in a film’s production cycle and to understand how perceptions of the implied reader in screenwriting culture can affect the act of writing for the screen. In the mainstream culture of screenwriting, the practitioner is often depicted as a typist relegated to the earliest stages of a production, and expected to satisfy the “capitalistic models of screen production” (Batty 2016, 60). These views often disregard the multitude of other production models in cinema, and the result of this tendency is that emerging screenwriters are sometimes misinformed about the greater complexities of the craft. This inquiry is achieved using a reciprocal model of practice-led and conventional critical research methodologies, which will illuminate the craft of screenwriting by charting the making of a feature-length academic screenplay, At the Crossing. Supporting development documentation accompanies the screenplay, including a production schedule and budget, which attempts to contextualise the screenplay in an industrial setting. The act of writing a screenplay in an academic environment enables me to establish the ways that the screenwriter is influenced by the production process, as well as by practitioners in the field of film production. As part of my research, four award-winning screenwriters, ranging from different areas of the filmmaking spectrum, were interviewed to learn about their role in the creation and production of four films. These case studies highlight the extent of the screenwriter’s reach across different production models and show that the screenwriter plays a significant role in all aspects of film production, not just its early conception. Furthermore, a historical analysis of the craft of screenwriting reveals how the earliest scenarios link with the different production models of cinema at the time and shows that Kickstarter, as well as other digital crowdfunding platforms, might have a major role on contemporary ‘digital’ modes of screenwriting. The conclusions of my research show that, in an independent and contemporary production, the role of the writer, as well as the function of the screenplay text, is fluid and not tied to traditional definitions. It determines that a greater understanding of the implied reader of screenplays can benefit the writer in their attempts to craft a compelling and production friendly screen idea and that the advent of digital technologies provides the screenwriter with innovative and efficient strategies to communicate that idea. An edited section of chapter three, has been published in the Journal of Screenwriting, 7:3 in 2016 and an edited version of chapter one has been published in New Cinemas, 15:2 in 2018.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available