The Journal of Screenwriting

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

I recently returned from the Re-thinking the Screenplay Conference (September 9–12) in Helsinki, Finland. Masterfully organized by Kirsi Rinne of the University of Art and Design, the international conference brought together over a hundred scholars from five continents, and provided a unique opportunity to discuss various aspects of the screenplay and screenwriting in general. I gave a paper on the collaboration between Kelly Reichardt and writer Jon Raymond in Old Joy (2006) and Wendy and Lucy (2008), and chaired a session of excellent presentations by Paul Wells, Jill Nelmes, Erik Knudsen, and Claus Tieber from Vienna. There were many terrific papers and panels, as well as a spirited keynote address by Ian Macdonald, who assessed the pressing research issues within the field at this time.

An added bonus of the conference was the debut of the inaugural issue of The Journal of Screenwriting, a new peer-reviewed academic journal devoted entirely to screenwriting. The first issue was co-edited by editor Jill Nelmes and Ian Macdonald, who organized the first Re-thinking the Screenplay Conference last year in Leeds, England. In order to publicize the journal, its publisher Intellect has put the first issue free online, so you have an opportunity to read the various articles, including my piece on alternative approaches to the written screenplay, entitled “No Room for the fun stuff: the question of the screenplay in American indie cinema.” In it, I discuss such filmmakers as Maya Deren, John Cassavetes, Jonas Mekas, Ron Rice, Kent Mackenzie, Andy Warhol, William Greaves, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch, Gus Van Sant, Chris Smith, Lance Hammer, Aaron Katz, and Ronnie Bronstein.

You can read the entire issue of The Journal of Screenwriting, including a PDF of my article (which begins on page 175) here:,id=1717/

There is also a call for new articles for the next issue of the journal:

I will be in NYC on Saturday, September 26 for a special screening of the films of Madeleine Gekiere at Anthology Film Archives. I’ve been invited to have a public conversation with her afterwards. I’m very much looking forward to seeing her wildly imaginative, playful, and now somewhat forgotten avant-garde films from the 1970s and 1980s at 8 PM. Thanks to Andy Lampert for arranging this special and important event. Here’s a link: