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Developing new Deaf screenwriting talent

Davies, Abigail



This paper examines how orthodox approaches to developing screenplays must be expanded when working with emerging screenwriting talent. It explores the particular issues and problems facing those working in Deaf film and TV, where production budgets are modest and training opportunities few. The analysis focusses on an individual case study: the year-long development of a half-hour TV drama between a professional hearing script editor and a novice Deaf screenwriter. The well-established formulation of the script editor is as a story expert supporting the screenwriter to hone her/his screenplay. Borrowing Gabriel's idea of a 'boundary rider', the paper examines how the script editor works energetically to preserve the agency of the new screenwriter; to privilege experiential learning whilst responding to the demands of an industrial commissioning process and production specification. Drawing on Gramsci's elaboration of the subaltern and the theories of Foucault and Bourdieu, it discusses the creative and cultural complexity of the editor-writer relationship. Macdonald's proposed framework of the Screen Idea Work Group is employed to explore the lived experience of a dialogical process of shared creation, which expands out to include production team, actors and interpreters via a uniquely adapted Table Read situated at the heart of the script development process. The value of this powerful encounter for the screenwriter is reflected on as well as its cost. Overall it is contended that much greater investment is required to develop assured screenwriting voices that can craft compelling stories to connect with audiences for Deaf film and TV.

Start Date Jul 24, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Pages 91-99
Series Title Avanca Cinema International Conference
Series Number 2019
Series ISSN 2184-4682
Book Title Avanca Cinema 2019
Chapter Number 1
APA6 Citation Davies, A. (2020). Developing new Deaf screenwriting talent. In Avanca Cinema 2019. , (91-99).
Keywords Deaf; screenwriting; table reading; experiment

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