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In my family, we like A Christmas Carol — Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — and it’s been made into movies several times and for us, the best version is the one made by The Muppets because in that version Gonzo the muppet gives the action dialogue — the narration — that you would not see in any other version of the film but he narrates — he walks around town — as Dickens narrating. So you hear language that you miss in the other movies. So, to me, that’s what’s happening when people start reading actual screenplays. They’re seeing the craft as it exists on the page. Yes, of course, we’d like it made into a film and we want to see the beautiful vistas and we want to see actors who are wonderful but I just really need the story. That’s enough for me. That’s gonna make me feel something.
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A Note About This Presentation
A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.
To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.
Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.
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