Scriptwriting as a creative, collaborative learning process of problem finding and problem solving
AbstractDeveloping an original idea into a finished feature film script is often a time-consuming and highly collective process. It is also a learning process. Writing a script is about constantly learning more about what one wants to tell and the best way to tell it. This knowledge can, for instance, come from research, conversations with creative collaborators, or improvisations with actors. In current Danish feature filmmaking this exploration of the material often takes place in close collaboration between the director and the scriptwriter (and sometimes also the producer) who together learn more about their initial idea for a film and about the best way to meet the challenge of writing the script. This article analyzes the collaborative process in the idea development and scriptwriting phase between director Annette K. Olesen and scriptwriter Kim Fupz Aakeson based on a qualitative case study of their work in developing an initial idea into the feature film Lille soldat (Danish premiere November 14, 2008), viewing their work as a creative, collaborative learning process of continuous problem finding and problem solving. Drawing on a study of problem finding in art by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jacob W. Getzels (1976) and theories from the field of Creative Problem Solving (CPS), the article explores the different stages and approaches of Olesen and Aakeson in their writing process and concludes how they go about learning more about their initial idea and why they embark on this problem finding and problem solving quest together. The case study shows how external parameters like institutional acceptance-finding and financing issues influence when to move from one stage in the scriptwriting process to another, and how a major reason for collaborating is having complementary skills that ensure on the one hand not being stuck in the mess- and data-finding stages of understanding an idea for too long, and on the other not moving on to a problem statement and generating ideas too quickly.
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