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The aesthetic independence of the screenplay

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The aesthetic independence of an artwork is usually defined by the direct relationship between the viewer and the artwork. The screenplay, however, is actualized for the viewer only via cinematic performance. Therefore, we should ask how the viewer experiences the performance and to what extent this experience is created by the contribution of the screenplay, and especially which elements are realized in the presentation and contribute to building up the performance for the viewer to experience.

The approach I am leaning on, and through which I am hoping to gain new insights into the aesthetic independence, is dramaturgical and thus practice-based. The common hermeneutic approach in artistic research usually defines what the artworks are and how they exist in our world as cultural phenomena. Through the dramaturgical approach I explore how the screenplay functions within the presentational process.

I discuss the contribution of the screenplay as a literary artwork by asking how the literary characteristics of the screenplay appear in a film and their function in the performance. I also explore the screenplay's contribution from the viewer's point of view. Here I am not leaning on the perception theories; instead I am using my own observation of the cinematic performance. Lastly, I discuss the dramaturgical process as an interpretive continuum that leads from the screenwriter to the viewer.
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Keywords: aesthetic independence; dramaturgy; interpretation; mental artwork; performance; plan for a film

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aalto University.

Publication date: January 1, 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.
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