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Teaching screenwriting in a time of storytelling blindness: the meeting of the auteur and the screenwriting tradition in Danish film-making

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Abstract:

This article analyses how the approach to screenwriting in Danish cinema has undergone major changes from an auteur-oriented film culture in the 1960s with basically no professional screenwriters, to a collaborative auteur industry where screenwriting is now a recognized craft and screenwriters are established professionals in the film industry. Focusing on the historical development of the Screenwriting Department at the National Film School of Denmark, the article discusses how the educational emphasis on teaching screenwriting has had an impact on Danish cinema both by introducing a basic understanding of screenwriting models and tools for a new generation of Danish film-makers, and by developing a common awareness of the importance of screenwriting as well as successful collaborations in creative teams. The article highlights how, after widespread enthusiasm over the emergence of successful screenwriters, there are currently debates about the dangers of professionalization as well as critical voices calling for a return to a more personal kind of auteur film-making. Finally, it is suggested that further investigation of the nature of close collaborations between directors and screenwriters, now more prevalent in Denmark, can provide interesting material for new perspectives in discussions of authorship.

Keywords: Danish cinema; authorship; collaboration; film schools; screenwriting

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/josc.1.1.59/1

Affiliations: Film and Media Studies Section, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen.

Publication date: 2010-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Screenwriting aims to explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook. The journal will encourage the investigation of a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches to studying the scriptwriting form, in particular: the history of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, the relationship of scriptwriting to the production process and how the form can be considered in terms of culture and society. The journal also aims to encourage research in the field of screenwriting, the linking of scriptwriting practice to academic theory, and to support and promote conferences and networking events on this subject.
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