Screenwriting With a Conscience
Ethics for Screenwriters
Routledge – 2003 – 272 pages
Series: Routledge Communication Series
Screenwriting With a Conscience: Ethics for Screenwriters is for screenwriters who care deeply about what they write; who are aware that movie images matter and can influence audiences; and who want to create meaningful screenplays that make powerful statements while entertaining and winning over audiences. A user-friendly guide to ethical screenwriting, this book makes the case that social responsibility is endemic to public art while it emphatically champions First Amendment rights and condemns censorship.
In this dynamic and practical volume, author Marilyn Beker provides methods for self-assessment of values, ideas, and ethical stances, and demonstrates the application of these values to the development of plot, character, and dialogue. Screenwriters are introduced to ethical decision making models and shown--through specific film examples--how they can be utilized in plot and character development. In addition, specific techniques and exercises are supplied to help screenwriters determine the difference between "good" and "evil," to write realistic and compelling characters based on this determination, and to present "messages" and write dialogue powerfully without preaching. This book also puts forth a livable work philosophy for dealing with the ethics of the screenwriting business, and presents a viable personal philosophy for surviving in the screenwriting world.
Screenwriting With a Conscience: Ethics for Screenwriters is an indispensible, dynamic guide for the ethics-conscious screenwriter. It is intended for screenwriters at the student and professional level, and is appropriate for beginning to graduate screenwriting courses in film and English programs, and for film courses dealing with Ethics in the Media.
"Wise and urgent advice to young screenwriters from a committed and passionate teacher. Beker speaks with years of experience and a great generosity of spirit."
Writer/Director, Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, Ararat
"This text would be appropriate for courses in fundamentals of screenwriting but also, perhaps especially, for critical studies and film theory and history courses. Given the vast public attention to this subject, I should think this could be a crossover book that appeals to audiences beyond the academy."
University of California at Los Angeles
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Part I: Why? Ethics? For Screenwriters? Message and Meaning. The Certainty of Why. Social Responsibility. What's Art Got to Do With It? Part II: The Certainty of What: Anything Goes? A Glimpse of Stocking. Something Shocking. Where Have All the Elders Gone? Conscience. Part III: What Really Matters. What It's Worth. The Good, the Bad, the Blurry. Nothing Left to Chance. Part IV: White Hats, Black Hats. White Hats, Black Hats. Good. Bad. The Villanero. Practical Writing Techniques. Angelic Acts, Dastardly Deeds. Crime and Punishment. Special Circumstances. Part V: Killing the Messenger. No Sermons. Words of Wisdom. Part VI: Having Written and Writing More. What's the Idea? All's Fair in Love, War, and Showbiz? Courage. Conclusion.