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From three acts to three screens: the significance of the role of writing in a new media film project

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This article will discuss the writing and editing of a short film called Writ in Water, a project specifically designed for three-screen projection. I will explore the influences of the process of writing for multi-image drama by considering Lev Manovich's notion of narrative as database, Gene Youngblood's view of syncretism and synaesthetics and Robert McKee's approach to three-act structure in relation to story, inciting incident, character development and narrative timeline. I will also outline the influence of Aristotle on this new media drama triptych and, finally, discuss scriptwriting as a changing component in relation to digital technology. The continuing significance of the script as blueprint will be explored and how classic story structure and use of new technology work together to inform the final work. This article aims to reflect on the acts and the actions of narrative creation using the classic tropes of screenwriting and its influences, and also recognize the importance of process in contributing to new knowledge in the area of multi-image screen narrative. A full appreciation of an artwork includes an understanding of the extent to which it is a product and reflection of the technologies used in its making (Shaw and Weibel 2003: 198).
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Keywords: digital natives; editing; expanded cinema; multi-image narrative; new media; practice as research; script format

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Roehampton University.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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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