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Script development as a ‘wicked problem’

journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2022, 00:02 authored by Craig Batty, Radha O'Meara, Stayci Taylor, Hester JoyceHester Joyce, Philippa Burne, Noel MaloneyNoel Maloney, Mark PooleMark Poole, Marilyn Tofler
Both a process and a set of products, influenced by policy as well as people, and incorporating objective agendas at the same time as subjective experiences, script development is a core practice within the screen industry –yet one that is hard to pin down and, to some extent, define. From an academic research perspective, we might say that script development is a ‘wicked problem’ precisely because of these complex and often contradictory aspects. Following on from a recent Journal of Screenwriting special issue on script development (2017, vol. 8:3), and in particular an article therein dedicated to reviewing the literature and ‘defining the field’, an expanded team of researchers follow up on those ideas and insights. In this article, then, we attempt to theorize script development as a ‘wicked problem’ that spans a range of themes and disciplines. As a ‘wicked’ team of authors, our expertise encompasses screenwriting theory, screenwriting practice, film and television studies, cultural policy, ethnography, gender studies and comedy. By drawing on these critical domains and creative practices, we present a series of interconnected themes that we hope not only suggests the potential for script development as a rich and exciting scholarly pursuit, but that also inspires and encourages other researchers to join forces in an attempt to solve the script development ‘puzzle’.


Publication Date



Journal of Screenwriting






22p. (p. 153-174)





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