Work-in-Progress: The Writing of Shortchanged
There are many ways to write a screenplay. This chapter traces one writer’s process to find a way that worked for her, a way to write a screenplay marked by the imprint of both creativity and craft. “Work-in-Progress: The Writing of Shortchanged” is a first-person account of the writing of the first draft of the low-budget feature, Shortchanged, funded under Screen Queensland’s New Writers’ Workshop. Shortchanged was written over a six-month period and informed by a family secret that had invaded the writer’s mind. This chapter considers the first-time screenwriter’s struggles to find her own voice when presented with a plethora of advice from “how to” books written by script “gurus”. Written in the first person, it is a reflective account of the screenwriting process and contains excerpts from the writer’s journal and script working documents as well as references to the emerging body of academic theory in the field of script development. Most of all, it highlights the importance of valuing the writer’s creative process (McVeigh, Can Creativity be Taught? Screen Education, ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media), 75, 57–63, 2014; McVeigh, The Making of Away and the Telling of a Cinematic Story. In R. Wirth, D. Serrati, & K. Madedulska (Eds.), Storying Humanity: Narratives of Culture and Society. Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press, 2015; McVeigh, Finding the Lightbulb Moment: Creativity and Inspiration in the Teaching of the Craft of Screenwriting. In ASPERA (The Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association) 2016: Screen Production Research: The Big Questions. Canberra. http://aspera.org.au/research/. November, 2016) and staying true to the initial creative spark that inspired the work writer’s work, the dramatic centre (Cooper, Writing Great Screenplays for Film and TV. New York: Macmillan, 1997), as a way of maintaining focus and momentum during the writing of a screenplay.
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