Dialogism and the Screenplay
Davies, Rosamund (2011) Dialogism and the Screenplay. In: Beyond Boundaries: Screenwriting Across Media, Fourth Screenwriting Research Network International Conference, 8-10 Sep 2011, Brussels, Belgium. (Unpublished)Full text not available from this repository.
This paper will investigate the potential relevance to screenwriting of Bakhtin‟s (1981) theory of dialogism and the novel. My enquiry is situated within the context of extensive debates over the creative and institutional limitations of the screenplay as blueprint (Geuens 2000, Pasolini 2005, Maras 2009, Staiger 2010, among others). This has resulted in research into scripting as an activity that is not necessarily text based (Maras 2009, Millard 2010, Murphy 2010). My own analysis will however focus on the written script, with reference to my own recent practice in writing a feature film screenplay, as well as to other screenwriters. It will take as a starting point Bakhtin‟s claim that, in contrast to the monologic discourse of myth, discourse within the novel can be polyphonic, or „multivoiced‟: articulating conflicting and multiple levels of meaning and truth. It will then explore the possibilities of a screenplay functioning as a 'multivoiced' text, rather than as a blueprint; the significance of Bakhtin‟s conception of myth, when compared to the use of myth in contemporary theories of screenwriting, and the potential relevance and limitations of his theory of the novel to the screenplay form. I will conclude with what I consider to be the implications of my investigations for the role of the screenplay; the collaboration between writer, director and producer, and to wider discussions of the development of the screen idea.
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