School of Film and TV - Theses

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    On the same page: an exploration of the co-screenwriting experience
    O'Keefe, Andrew ( 2014)
    Most commercial screen product created in the last century has been the result of collaboration between two or more writers. However, while there exists a significant body of research into the areas of both ‘collaboration’ and ‘screenwriting’, very little exists which interrogates their nexus. This practice-led thesis begins to address that gap by firstly investigating the process of co-screenwriting through my writing collaboration with John Studley on the feature-length screenplay, The Last Resort. Throughout the writing of the screenplay I maintained observational diaries, transcribed audio recordings of writing sessions and reflected on communication and collaboration patterns. Secondly, this thesis also attempts to contextualise this collaboration between two screenwriters constructing a feature-length screenplay by examining various co-authoring models used. In spite of the fact that the majority of film scripts are credited to one writer, I suggest that collaborative screenwriting within the film industry is highly prevalent, particularly in Hollywood, where it takes many guises, both overt and covert, willing and unwilling. I further suggest that historically, the rigid modern screenplay format used by many contemporary screenwriters developed as a by-product of studio-enforced collaborations during the silent-movie era of Hollywood and, therefore, this particular form of the screenplay may be ideally suited to co-writing. Through the examination of my own collaborative screenwriting practices, I conclude that a prolonged and well-considered prewriting phase may be highly desirable to the quality of the final screenplay and the health of the collaborative process. I propose that conversational collaboration (writing every word together) can be an effective technique between two screenwriters; and that conversational collaboration significantly enhances the vocabulary required to successfully co-write and strengthens what is, possibly, the most important ingredient of all successful collaborations: trust.