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Intellectual spaces in screenwriting studies: The practitioner-academic and fidelity discourse

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As Craig Batty argues, traditional screenwriting research predominantly concerns itself not with the practice of writing, but its end product. This can lead to the actual process of writing being overlooked. The advent of the practitioner-academic within screenwriting studies has led to the foregrounding of the interests of practice over those of more traditional academic research. According to Batty, the intent of the practitioner-academic’s research is to generate knowledge that can influence the work of screenwriters directly. This article argues that additionally, practitioner-academics can make a valuable contribution towards more ‘traditional’ research, simply by occupying the same unique intellectual space from which they might influence practice. The article uses debates surrounding fidelity within adaptation studies to examine the ways in which the practitioner-academic’s unique approach can enhance ‘traditional’ research, and draws on examples from practice to do so, namely the book to film adaptation Starship Troopers (1997).
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Keywords: Screenwriting Research Network; Starship Troopers; adaptation; fidelity; practitioner-academic; screenwriting research

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of East London

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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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