Magazine article Metro Magazine

The Write Stuff: The Business and Art of Screenwriting

Magazine article Metro Magazine

The Write Stuff: The Business and Art of Screenwriting

Article excerpt

The thread that binds the overwhelming majority of critical discussions about the 'present state' of Australian (or for that matter any other national) cinema is the examination of the conditions, circumstances and processes that shape and influence the way film narratives correspond with our society and culture. In other words: what kind of stories do we tell? Are our narratives important to Australian audiences and those abroad? Are we good at developing our narratives, visualizing characters and writing dialogue? How do we defy traditional narratives, respond to the persistent quest for identity that pervades our cultural discourse, or answer the challenges of rising angst, conservatism and apathy in our society? Interestingly, these questions are often asked when 'things go wrong' and the national cinema is in 'crisis', when panning of local film in the media reaches epidemic proportions, and maligning production houses and funding bodies becomes the norm. Metro magazine is breaking with this tradition, dedicating a range of interesting articles and interviews in its Special Feature Section to screenwriting at a time when local production is showing signs of renewed vigour and Australian and New Zealand films are gaining respect on the international festival circuit.

Hester Joyce's 'Hollywood Bound: Peter Jackson's Braindead in Development' traces the key stages in the drafting and assessment of this pivotal New Zealand film. Strategies adopted by the New Zealand Film Commission during the 1980s for improving script development practices included a series of guest lectures by Hollywood script analyst Robert McKee, who provided analytical tools for the assessment of future film projects. Joyce chronicles the development of Braindead, looking into key phases in the work of screenwriters Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Stephen Sinclair, whose script was assessed on five occasions between 1987 and 1990 as part of this process. This text could be read as a prequel to discussions about the current direction of New Zealand cinema (see for example Geoff Lealand and Helen Martin's 'The National Cinema of Aotearoa/New Zealand' in Screen Education 39) because it examines how the confluence between the application of new assessment tools and awareness of culturally specific notions opened new avenues for low-budget (and not only low-budget) film in New Zealand. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.