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Free Content Screenwriting and emotional rhythm

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Recent advances in neuroscience have begun to unravel the part played by emotion in decision-making and creativity. All storytellers rely on emotion, but the screenwriter, conveying the essential narrative and technical information required to make a film, carries a unique burden. Screenplays must act as a bridge from the author to the audience, describing the narrative’s capacity to evoke emotion through action and image. In discussing a screenplay, the narrative is usually assessed in terms of its characters, plot, subplots, theme, dialogue, tone, style, etc. Yet, emotion, the quality that determines the screenplay’s (and ultimately the film’s) overall effect, is often poorly understood. This paper proposes Emotional Rhythm - that subliminal sequence of emotions underpinning all the dramatic components - as a means of evaluating the screenplay’s potency as it relates to the construction of the narrative.
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Keywords: emotional rhythm; film; lucid dreaming; neuroscience; screenplay; screenwriting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sydney University

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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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