From The Journal Of Screenwriting V1 Issue 1: Everybody’s a Writer Theorizing screenwriting as creative labour by Bridget Conor

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


Everybody’s a Writer Theorizing screenwriting as creative labour by Bridget Conor

This paper offers a theoretical agenda for a labourist analysis of screenwriting, and critically evaluates the marginal status of screenwriting within film production systems. On the one hand, screenwriting offers an exemplary case study of creative work in post-modernized film production industries, work characterized by freelancing and multivalent working patterns, insecurity and hierarchization. Investigating screenwriting as creative labour also offers unique insights into an intensely industrial vocation; this requires a highly particular theorization of the contexts and conditions of writers’ working lives.This paper draws on sociological analyses of creative production and utilizes a Foucauldian understanding of technologies of the self as this concept has been applied in the analysis of creative labour. This approach enables a critical examination of particular aspects of screenwriting labour, including the rigidity of the industrial screenplay form and its pedagogical frameworks, the standardized mechanisms of control over screenwriting labour (such as inequitable collaboration and practices of multiple authorship), and the heady mix of both creative fulfilment and punishment which characterizes this form of work.


The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

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