From The Journal Of Screenwriting V1 Issue 1: So it’s not surprising I’m neurotic The Screenwriter and the Screen Idea Work Group by Ian W Macdonald

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


So it’s not surprising I’m neurotic The Screenwriter and the Screen Idea Work Group by Ian W Macdonald

The Screen Idea Work Group (SIWG) is a flexibly constructed group organized around the development and production of a screen idea; a hypothetical grouping of those professional workers involved in conceptualizing and developing fictional narrative work for any particular moving image screen idea. In this article, I use the notion of the SIWG to draw together the views of key workers about how the process of screen idea development works or doesn’t. My findings are based on a small ethnographic study I undertook in 2004, in which, through in-depth semi-structured interviews with seven SIWG workers, I attempted to understand how they came to occupy their role, how they felt their judgements were made and received, and how far the SIWG’s view of the screen idea accorded with the screenwriting doxa (characterized as how to do a good piece of work). As detailed below, their answers were concerned with status, a sense of self-worth and respect, points of tension, power, control, collaboration and trust, and the nature of the doxa itself.


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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