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Three screenplay adaptations and the ownership effect

By Venero Armanno


This PhD consists of three screenplays adapted from my novels and an exegesis which explores the involvement and influences producers have had on the eventual screenplay outcomes. In developing a first draft of original screenplays writers often work alone and without critical feedback, development assistance or encouragement from third parties. The writing process can continue in this way for some time, through many drafts, until the writer either abandons the project or finds some development assistance either from government film support agencies, producers, or both. At that stage, the writer enters a new creative process which involves collaboration, negotiation, and a series of artistic and institutional expectations which will no longer be theirs alone. In the situation where a producer options an existing creative work, such as a novel,\ud and commences an adaptation project, this scriptwriting collaborative process will start much earlier. This is usually the case when a producer options a novel and\ud employs a scriptwriter to create a film version of that story. The scriptwriter must attempt to meet the aesthetic requirements of the material at hand, yet also meet the\ud film expectations that exist in the producer's mind - who, in his or her imagination, will already have cast, filmed and screened the film adaptation on a mental canvas.\ud Where the screenplay adaptor is also the creator of the original material, a series of questions are raised which affect the rights of the original writer to maintain some\ud control over their material balanced against the rights of the producer (the material's new "proprietor") to tell the story in whichever way he or she thinks is best. This exploration is balanced by studying practitioner accounts of the novel to film adaptation process, and by considering the critical literature on the subject. The exegesis argues that when a producer takes ownership of a novel's screen rights, he or she can have a marked affect on the screenplay adaptation process. The reinterpretation of that material for the screen can be more closely aligned to the\ud producer-proprietor's expectations than those of the original creator or the screenwriter employed to write the novel to film adaptation

Topics: Motion picture plays, Motion picture authorship, thesis, doctoral
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2003
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