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Aceh mon amour: Supervising O

Petkovic, J. and Beck, O. (2008) Aceh mon amour: Supervising O. IM: Interactive Media (4).

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Drama is Conflict.
Every filmmaker knows this truism well. Most films revolve around a conflict situation.

Those of us that teach screen production in academia are also aware that conflict in student projects is often based on some personal trauma.

How are we to deal with these traumatic narratives as supervisors?

In this paper we offer three perspectives on this question along with one detailed example.

1. For some students trauma provides the very reason for the story. Filmmakers that belong to marginal social groups are a good case in point. Trauma associated with marginal social existence is most often the driving force for stories in this genre. Students in this group come to us as a gale force wind and may well leave us feeling that there is little we can do for them as supervisors except to behold the unfolding of their stories. Such students tend to be rare in academia.

2. For most students, trauma is the reason why a story cannot be told. We recognize these students in our workshops by their blockages, silences and avoidance of narratives. They often present themselves in scriptwriting classes as having little to say even when the trauma in question is evident to all. It is tempting to think that, as supervisors, we can unlock these personal blockages and uncover the underlying writing potential. In this perspective scriptwriting classes could be considered as therapeutical sessions which bring healing and comfort to the suffering scriptwriter-to-be. The only problem with this scenario is that screen production supervisors are generally not analysts and, for many good reasons, should not act as if they are analysts.

3. There is yet another group of students for whom the urge to speak their personal trauma is as evident as their attempts to generalise it. We recognized these students, by their need to tell their story, on the one hand, and by their tendency to find trauma everywhere, on the other hand. Students in this category present us with stories that contain most imaginative and creative transformations around some personal trauma invoking negations/ inversions, double negations, displacements and symbolic transformations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): National Academy of Screen and Sound
Publisher: National Academy of Screen and Sound
Copyright: © IM/NASS
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