Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Imitation and adaptation: A screenwriting pedagogy

Buy Article:

$14.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Because originality is highly valued in all the arts, it initially appears counterproductive to teach screenwriting students the craft by encouraging them to imitate established genres or to adapt literature. This pedagogical method, however, teaches students genre-specific narrative structure and conventions, avoids the paralysis that sometimes comes with ‘complete’ artistic freedom and ultimately allows students to discern the qualities of their unique ‘voice’. Countless contemporary American films are adaptations, sequels, parodies or mashups, yet many fear that learning via imitation will cause students to write derivative or cliché scripts. By exploring the history of emulation in art and the fact that the value placed on originality is relatively new, the pedagogic push for originality starts to appear short-sighted. Further analysis reveals how reaching for ‘highly original’ may produce innovation but few screenplays of critical value. Identifying an example of ‘original’ within the genre boundaries of the horror screenplay demonstrates how a screenwriter can break new ground while still writing within the conventions of the genre. Fiction to Film Adaptations also prove to be highly innovative and original works, ultimately refining the definition of creativity, innovation and originality in screenplay writing.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: film adaptation; film genre; imitation; innovation; originality; pedagogy; writer’s block

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Boston University

Publication date: August 3, 2011

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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Intellect Books page
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
UA-1313315-26
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more