From The Journal Of Screenwriting V4 Issue 1: ‘To make you see’: Screenwriting, description and the ‘lens-based’tradition by Adam Ganz

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


‘To make you see’: Screenwriting, description and the ‘lens-based’tradition by Adam Ganz
  
In this article I look at the descriptive writing in the screenplay, and link this to a tradition of ‘lens-based writing’, the precise visual description of phenomena observed through a lens for an audience unable to see what was described, which can be traced from the writing of Galileo and van Leeuwenhoek, through scientific and travel writing, to early fiction (with particular emphasis on Robinson Crusoe). I identify the most significant features of lens-based writing – the use of simple language and the separation of observation and deduction to communicate what has been seen through a simultaneous act of looking and framing, and show the similarities between this and screenwriting practice. I also make some observations about what this model can offer screenwriting research.

In this article I look at the descriptive writing in the screenplay, and link this to a tradition of ‘lens-based writing’, the precise visual description of phenomena observed through a lens for an audience unable to see what was described, which can be traced from the writing of Galileo and van Leeuwenhoek, through scientific and travel writing, to early fiction (with particular emphasis on Robinson Crusoe). I identify the most significant features of lens-based writing – the use of simple language and the separation of observation and deduction to communicate what has been seen through a simultaneous act of looking and framing, and show the similarities between this and screenwriting practice. I also make some observations about what this model can offer screenwriting research.


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

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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