The screen novel: a creative practice approach to developing a screen idea for the television crime thriller.

Sculley, S 2017, The screen novel: a creative practice approach to developing a screen idea for the television crime thriller., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The screen novel: a creative practice approach to developing a screen idea for the television crime thriller.
Author(s) Sculley, S
Year 2017
Abstract This creative practice PhD is situated in the field of screenwriting practice studies and explores the development of a screen idea using novelistic techniques. By novelistic techniques, I mean the deployment of prose and image that one would usually associate with the fiction writer. It should be noted that I refer to image as a novelistic technique in the tradition of the illustrated novel. In writing the screen idea using the novel form, I explore how I and others might develop an idea, in this case a television (TV) series, that embeds the technical directives evident in the screenplay so that character and story are brought into focus. The creative artefact in this PhD is what I call a ‘screen novel’, which aims to complement and extend traditional approaches to script development. The intention of this research is to reframe how we discuss the development of a screen idea, in particular how we view the screenplay and summary texts as technical documents within the development and production process. As Steven Maras notes, ‘numerous writers, at different times throughout the history of film, tell us that production has little to do with writing’ (2009, p. 52). Here Maras refers to a long-standing tradition that situates the screenplay as something to be made as opposed to something to be read (2009). Maras’s comment resonates with my own experience of writing screenplays with both a technical and poetic sensibility.

Discussing the screenplay as a production document has implications for the screenwriter not only in terms of the provenance and authorship of the screen idea, but also the act of screenwriting. The screenplay as a production text is prevalent in the film and TV industry and is also supported by many how-to screenwriting manuals that position the screenwriter’s role within a production system. My research thus investigates a model that situates the screen idea as a text, which is both a stand-alone object for public consumption and an industry source document.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Subjects Film and Television
Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified
Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
Keyword(s) Screenwriting practice studies
Creative writing
Film and television
Screenplay
Creative practice research
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Created: Tue, 13 Feb 2018, 11:26:14 EST by Denise Paciocco
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