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Expanding practice: Script development with new Deaf screenwriting talent

Davies, Abigail

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In Deaf film and television, modest production budgets and limited training opportunities present considerable challenges for emerging screenwriting talent. This article argues that orthodox approaches to developing screenplays must be expanded when working in this context. The analysis focuses on an individual case study: the development of a half-hour television drama between a professional hearing script editor and a novice Deaf screenwriter. The article discusses the creative and cultural complexity of the editor-writer relationship, drawing on Schon’s ‘reflective practitioner’ concept, Ladd’s analysis of Deaf culture, Gramsci’s elaboration of the subaltern and the theories of Bourdieu, Foucault and Freire. More specifically, Macdonald’s Screen Idea Work Group is employed to explore the 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 development process. Reflecting on the value of this powerful encounter, the aim of the study is to address a gap in knowledge about this practice phenomenon, and to contribute to Deaf filmmaking practice by proposing an original methodology. Overall it is contended that greater investment is required to develop assured screenwriting voices to serve Deaf film and television audiences.


Davies, A. (2020). Expanding practice: Script development with new Deaf screenwriting talent. Journal of Screenwriting, 11(2), 157-174.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2020
Publication Date Jun 1, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 2, 2021
Journal Journal of Screenwriting
Print ISSN 1759-7137
Electronic ISSN 1759-7145
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Article Number 2
Pages 157-174
Keywords Deaf, screenwriting, new talent, script editing, table reading, experiment
Public URL
Publisher URL


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