Off the Page: Screenwriting in the Era of Media Convergence Available Now for Courses

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View the Table of Contents

Ideal for the classroom:

Designed for students and writers who are looking to understand what studios want, as well as what kinds of opportunities exist beyond the outmoded three-act structure. There is no similar book that critically analyzes the diverse industrial, professional and craft practices of screenwriting today.

  • the authors are working scholars and screenwriters, who employ industry studies, production culture studies, textual analysis and interviews with working screenwriters
  • addresses specific genres and adjacent industries across a wide range of rapidly evolving media, such as online content creation and the development of the video games industry
  • couples the recent history of screenwriting with close analysis of scripts in the context of the screenwriting paraindustry—from “how to write a winning script” books to screenwriting software
  • provides an astute cultural-industrial analysis of the creative labor of screenwriters, whose contributions have been increasingly devalued in the post-1980s era of deregulation, conglomeration, and globalization

“A much-needed antidote to the plethora of ‘how-to’ books, workshops, and blogs currently flooding the marketplace.”—Denise Mann, University of California, Los Angeles

“An insightful must-read for writers across all emerging and converging media.”—David Howard, University of Southern California

“This book does a rare thing: it provides a compelling bird’s-eye view of how the industry’s recent technological and economic changes have disrupted conventional writing practices, even as it closely analyzes scripts and drills deeply into the thoughts and words of working screenwriters.”—John T. Caldwell, author of Production Culture

Request an exam copy of Off the Page here.


Print Exam Copies:

  • Upon verification, we will send you an exam copy for review.
  • Online ordering is available for professors in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. International customers, please find out how to order at ucpress.edu/go/exam.
  • If you have already adopted the book, you may request a complimentary desk copy.

VitalSource E-Exam Copies:

  • UC Press is happy to provide e-book examination copies for your review from our partners at VitalSource. You may select an e-exam copy during your online exam copy request.
  • Upon verification, we will send you an email with a redemption code to view your copy.
  • You’ll have 365 days to review your e-exam copy and do not need to purchase or return it.

Daniel Bernardi is Professor of Cinema in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. He is a documentary filmmaker, edits the War Culture book series at Rutgers University Press, and has published several books on film, television, and popular culture.

Julian Hoxter is Associate Professor of Cinema in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. He is a produced screenwriter and has published three books on the history and practice of screenwriting.


Save 30% with UC Press during the Modernist Studies Association Conference

The 2017 Modernist Studies Association Conference convenes August 10 – 13 in Amsterdam.

Check out our landing page featuring UC Press across various disciplines, including Art, Music, Visual Culture, and Cinema & Media Studies. Save 30% online with discount code 17W6815, or request an exam copy for consideration to use in your upcoming classes. The discount code expires September 30, 2017.


Tools of the Trade: Resources for Cinema and Media Scholars and Educators

As part of our “Tools of the Trade” blog series, we’re showcasing resources and reference materials for educators and scholars to help you in your research, writing, and prep work this summer. Here are a few titles that continue to shape key intellectual questions and ideas within various film- and media-related fields.

A Look at Globalization and Industry Studies

Hollywood Made in China

Aynne Kokas

“Combining her personal experience working on film productions in both China and Hollywood with her strong academic credentials, Aynne Kokas has given us a pioneering study on a subject that will undoubtedly increase in importance as the Sino-Hollywood connection deepens. Future researchers on this topic would do well to begin here.

—Stanley Rosen, Professor of Political Science, University of Southern California

 

Voices of Labor: Creativity, Craft, and Conflict in Global Hollywood

Edited by Michael Curtin and Kevin Sanson

Available worldwide through a free download at luminosoa.org

“This remarkable collection of interviews with screen industry professionals—from costume designers to location managers—is essential reading for anyone interested in how Hollywood actually works. Voices of Labor is a unique account of the contemporary conditions, experiences, and organization of media workers and is an important contribution to media industry research.

—Ramon Lobato, author of Shadow Economies of Cinema

 

Topics in Documentary

Speaking Truths with Film: Evidence, Ethics, Politics in Documentary

By Bill Nichols

Bill Nichols is uniquely equipped to trace the genealogy of documentary studies—after all, he pioneered the field. Speaking Truths With Film is proof that he has yet to quit; filled as it is with his half-century chronicle of developments in both filmmaking and scholarship, it demands to not only be read, but also put to use.

—B. Ruby Rich, Editor of Film Quarterly

 

 

American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn

By Scott MacDonald

“A superbly original and informative work that takes as its project the creation of a cognitive map of a significant and geographically specific area within the larger field of independent documentary filmmaking. This book establishes a new path for documentary studies within a cultural landscape that widens to spatial media studies and beyond.

—Janet Walker, author of Trauma Cinema: Documenting Incest and the Holocaust

 

Putting Original Source Materials to Work

The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933

Edited by Anton Kaes, Nicholas Baer, and Michael Cowan

Opening entirely new pathways to the research and teaching of German film culture, this carefully edited sourcebook reveals the fantastic wealth of early ideas and thoughts on cinema.”

—Gertrud Koch, author of Siegfried Kracauer: An Introduction

 

 

Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology

Edited by Scott MacKenzie

“This book offers an exciting and productive way of thinking about cinema, allowing the reader to become acquainted with a large range of important declarations on film and on its mission from across its history. This is a volume that every film scholar will want to have.

—Dana Polan, Professor of Cinema Studies, New York University

 

 


To save 30% on all Cinema and Media titles—enter discount code 17W7196 at checkout.


Wake Up and Smell the Money

by Vicki Mayer, author of Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans: The Lure of the Local Film Economy

Probably no one in media studies loves tax policy. Or economic multiplier equations. Or state budget battles. I know that was not my own hook into becoming a doctor of all things fun and entertaining. And yet these things matter more than ever.

For media fans, tax breaks and other incentives are the tinder for what ignites Hollywood media production, and what sets many corporations, developers, economic policy wonks, and speculators on fire. Dedicated public money for a multi-million-dollar film shoot means less risk for studios and Wall Street investors who raise the financing. Public coffers for media infrastructure flip property values and attract schemers to house and entertain the industry’s mobile workforces. In the most ‘successful’ sites outside of Southern California, Hollywood production stokes the hopes for permanent jobs and stable redevelopment; all the while fueling a shadow economy of tradable tax credits and venture capital bubbles.

For myself, though, the language of multipliers became material, more visceral, when I couldn’t park within a block of my own doorstep because there was film crew who had rented my street for a week. I had an infant and groceries. It was summer hot. Everyone and everything was melting while I passed the trailers and catering. Nothing pisses a new mom off like parking. At least, that moment made me think: Who can own the street? How and how much does it cost?

It didn’t take long digging around production spaces that I realized that ‘no parking’ is the burden of only those privileged enough to own space, or even a car for that matter, in a place media producers find desirable and city governments find bankable. This opaque economy of public money for private incentivizing meant borrowing the budgets dedicated to education, health, and social services. Film students, for example, unknowingly traded in increased fees and debts in exchange for the promise they might work their way up a narrow and precarious ladder to full-time work. Unemployed creative workers have found themselves caught between precious few well-paid gigs, explosive rental prices, and the tatters of a safety net for check-ups. After 15 years of seeding Hollywood South, Louisiana is still one of the poorest and most unequal states in the U.S.

So next time we praise the series made in Atlanta, or Austin, or Albuquerque, it might be time for media studies to pay attention to who really got paid for that production, and if they get their money’s worth.


Vicki Mayer is Professor of Communication at Tulane University. She is coeditor of the journal Television & New Media and author or editor of several books and journal articles about media production, creative industries, and cultural work.

A free ebook version of Vicki’s new book, Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans, is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Download a copy now.

You can also follow her on Academia.edu.

 


Feminist Media Histories Celebrates Women’s History Month

To celebrate Women’s History Month Feminist Media Histories will be highlighting articles from past issues. Each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of March one FMH article will be free to download for 48 hours. We begin with Chika Kinoshita’s article, “Something More Than A Seduction Story: Shiga Akiko’s Abortion Scandal and Late 1930s Japanese Film Culture,” published in the inaugural issue two years ago and available now. A stunning example of how feminist media history can illuminate histories of stardom and moviegoing, while demonstrating the centrality of movie culture to larger discussions of gender and politics in many global contexts. Other articles featured this month will highlight writing on the cinema by filmmaker Esfir Shub and Ms. Magazine critics, the unsung work of female costume designers and radio pioneers, the challenge of digital preservation, lesbian film distribution in the 1970s, contemporary cyberfeminism in Iran and much more.

Featured articles will also showcase the range of special issues published by FMH, including Women and Soundwork, Histories of Celebrity, Materialisms, Found Footage, and Archives and Archivists.

Follow Feminist Media Histories on Facebook and Twitter to catch every free download this month. And watch for future issues on Gender + Comedy, Data, and Comics.

— Shelley Stamp
Editor, Feminist Media Histories


Debunking Media Myths, Those Prominent Cases of Fake News

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism

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The mainstream media’s recent angst and hand-wringing about a surge of “fake news” has tended to ignore that the media themselves have often been purveyors of bogus tales and dubious interpretations.

“Fake news” has plenty of antecedents in mainstream media — several cases of which are documented in my book, Getting It Wrong, a new, expanded edition of which was published recently.

The book examines and debunks media-driven myths, which are well-known stories about and/or by the news media that are widely believed and often retold but which, under scrutiny, dissolve as false or wildly exaggerated. Think of them as prominent cases of “fake news” that have masqueraded as a fact for years. Decades, even.

Continue reading “Debunking Media Myths, Those Prominent Cases of Fake News”


Meet Raina Polivka, our new Acquisitions Editor for Music, Cinema and Media Studies

rainaWe are very pleased to announce that Raina Polivka will be joining the University of California Press as our new acquisitions editor in Music and Cinema & Media Studies.

Raina is currently an acquisitions editor at Indiana University Press, where she acquires books in music and cinema, in addition to several other humanities areas. She holds masters degrees in both library science and comparative literature from Indiana.

We are delighted that Raina will bring not only her knowledge and experience in both music and cinema to the press, but her passion for scholarly communication and her genuine warmth.

In her words:

“University of California Press has long been a leader in publishing and scholarly communication, pushing the industry into new directions. I am delighted to join such an innovative and creative organization, to uphold a high standard of scholarship, and to further contribute to the fields of music, film, and media studies in major and lasting ways.”

Raina’s first official day at the press will be December 7th, but she will be joining UC Press staff on Saturday, November 14th, at our booth in Louisville for the American Musicological Society (AMS) meeting.

Along with other staff, our editorial director, Kim Robinson, will also be at AMS this year. Please go by booth 202 in the Galt House Hotel’s Grand Ballroom A and say hello.


New and notable from SCMS 2015, Montréal, Canada

By Mary Francis, Executive Editor, Cinema & Media Studies

What’s new? That is always the biggest question in an editor’s mind going to big annual conference (right up there with, where can I get a really good espresso?*). As a publisher, there is nothing more gratifying than having a colleague approach our exhibit table with that question. And this year was a doozy for us, with a hot-of-the-press number of Film Quarterly, a new sibling in the journals family, Feminist Media Histories, a set of great interviews with media industry insiders, new translations of Bazin, stellar new books on film sound, cinema and the Parisian avant-garde, amateur film, cinematography, ‘lens and screen arts,’ the life and work of Lois Weber, and much more.

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As the publisher who wants to bring more of “what’s new?” to the world the Society for Cinema and Media Studies is a feast of timely possibilities: we are all steeped in audio-visual media every day, and SCMS is a great place to learn about, and understand the many ways that our lives are influenced and affected by it all. As a representative of a progressive university press, always looking for work that explores what it means to be an engaged citizen, this year’s program offered plenty of enticing possibilities: a plethora of ways to understand the performances and genres we consume on screen; grapples with newest ways (legal or not, free or not) to access moving image content; rich introductions to the cutting-edge moving image work in galleries; the in’s and out’s of media industries around the world; thought-provoking work on how and why what we watch is (and isn’t) regulated and controlled and by whom. It was great to see so many panels that addressed teaching: there was a lot of energy dedicated to talking about the best ways to introduce students to great films, to great texts, to important concepts about media literacy, to raise awareness of active and intelligent consumption.

*My answer this year: http://tunnelespresso.ca/


Youth Radio Stories

Since 1992, Youth Radio has been an outlet for young people to find their own voices and tell their own stories through media. In Drop that Knowledge: Youth Radio Stories, Elisabeth Soep and Vivian Chavez explore the process of writing and producing these stories, which air on major outlets like NPR and KQED, and the meaning of bringing underrepresented voices to a wide audience.

The challenge for any journalist, write Soep and Chavez, is to “unbury the lede”—to find the unifying point or idea in a story, and to tell it in a way that speaks to the intended audience. Through classic Youth Radio stories, they illustrate how young journalists navigate this terrain, and frame personal experience in an engaging and meaningful narrative.

Telling your story to the world can be life-changing, but it’s not all there is, says Soep in this KALW Crosscurrents interview. She describes how Youth Radio goes beyond cultivating personal expression to promote media literacy and support youth in other ways, like providing access to health care and career counseling.

Youth Radio has won a Peabody and other awards, and its reporters have produced many influential investigative stories, but Drop That Knowledge is more than a celebration of success, says Soep: “Youth voice, to me, is never the answer. It’s the place where we start asking questions…It’s the place we start hearing questions, and engaging in conversations that young people can shape and drive and move forward.”

With the nature of media changing faster than ever before, young people have more opportunities than ever to reach a wide audience. This makes organizations like Youth Radio even more important, says Soep, to give young journalists the skills and the power not only to find their voice and tell their stories, but to get people to listen.

Youth Media’s success has implications beyond the newsroom. In this Edutopia article, Soep opens up a larger conversation about how to bring Youth Radio’s lessons into schools, with a guide to writing radio commentary.

In this Boing Boing article, Soep looks at how playwright Chinaka Hodge is using social media to invite her audience into the lives of the characters in her play, Mirrors in Every Corner, and explores the possibilities of this innovative approach to theater.


Book Launch Recap: Getting it Wrong

This past Saturday, W. Joseph Campbell launched his book, Getting it Wrong, with a talk and book signing at the Newseum in Washington, DC. He brings us the highlights, and audience members’ thought-provoking questions, in this cross-post from his Media Myth Alert blog.
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Getting it Wrong Launched at Newseum

Getting It Wrong, my new book about media-driven myths, was launched at a terrific program yesterday at the Newseum, the $450 million museum of news in downtown Washington, D.C.

The Newseum’s John Maynard moderated a brisk “Inside Media” talk, during which I reviewed the myths of:

—William Randolph Hearst’s purported vow to “furnish the war” with Spain,
—Edward R. Murrow‘s 1954 See It Now television program that supposedly ended Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s communists-in-government witch-hunt,
— the so-called “Cronkite moment” of 1968,
—the heroic-journalist of Watergate, and
—the supposedly superlative reporting in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina‘s landfall in 2005.

Signing books at the Newseum

The audience posed several intriguing questions about the book. Among them was whether I thought the media myths confronted in Getting It Wrong would now be forever buried.

It’s probably too soon to say, given the book’s recent publication. But I mentioned in my reply that I’ve been struck by how dearly some myths are held.

The myth of the “Cronkite moment” is an example, I said: It seems quite difficult for some people to believe that Walter Cronkite’s program on Vietnam in February 1968 was not of decisive effect.

The “Cronkite moment” may live on, and continue to be embraced, despite the weight of the evidence that Cronkite’s television report about Vietnam was of scant importance in revising policy or in shaping the president’s thinking about reelection.

A question was posed about how media myths emerge, and I noted that they arise from several sources, including an urge to identify examples of media power. Another factor is what I call “complexity-avoidance”–the appeal of simplified explanations for complex historical events.

It is, after all, far easier to believe that Hearst and his “yellow press” brought on the Spanish-American War in 1898, I said, than it is to grasp the complexities of the failed diplomacy among Spain, Cuba, and the United States that gave rise to that conflict. It is far easier to believe that the Washington Post brought down Richard Nixon’s corrupt presidency, I said, than it is to sort through tangled lines of investigation of the Watergate scandal that ultimately forced Nixon from office.

Even then, I said, Nixon may have served out his term if not for the tape-recordings he made of his private Oval Office conversations. Those tapes, which the U.S. Supreme Court forced Nixon to produce in 1974, revealed his guilty role in the Watergate coverup.

I also was asked whether there are other media myths to bust. Indeed there are, I said. Getting It Wrong may deserve a sequel and suggested as candidates for a follow-on book the dubious phenomenon of “Pharm Parties” and the question of whether Cronkite really was “the most trusted man in America.

I signed copies of Getting It Wrong following the “Inside Media” program, and then toasted the book’s publication at a reception sponsored by the Newseum and American University’s School of Communication.

The School’s dean, Larry Kirkman, offered generous remarks in his toast at the reception, which was attended by AU colleagues, former students, past research assistants, and friends and family.

—W. Joseph Campbell