Research into the Methodology and Theory of Scriptwriting

Goran Stefanovski’s A Little Book of Traps (a scriptwriting tool) was published in Stockholm by the Dramatic Institute (Dramatiska Institutet) Stockholm, Sweden, in 2002. This was the fruition of two years of research he undertook at the Institute, the leading research body in the field. It is the summation of many years of study of teaching methods and it constitutes Stefanovski’s approach to scriptwriting.

It is also the basis of the MA in Scriptwriting Programme which he developed and successfully validated at Canterbury Christ Church University. The external examiners found it “original, exciting and innovative”.

In 2003 the book was translated into Macedonian and published as Мала книга на стапици by Tabernakul in Skopje. In 2007 there was a Chinese translation of A Little Book of Traps by Lina Lin, in Journal of Beijing Film Academy, Volume 5, ISSN 1002-614. In 2009 came the publication of the Serbian translation of the book, Mala knjiga zamki, published by Sterijino Pozorje, Novi Sad, ISBN 978-86-85145-21-6, and the following year the Slovakian translation was published Malá kniha nástrah (príručka napísanie hier).

Goran Stefanovski gave a large number of master classes, workshops and presentations on scriptwriting and on his work as a playwright, screenwriter and dramaturg during his life:

  • Tricycle Theatre London, 2004;
  • Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, 2007;
  • Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Skopje, 2007;
  • Faculty of Philology, University of Skopje, 2007;
  • workshop on A Little Book of Traps with students from Theatre and Film Academies at the Arts Academy in Novi Sad, Serbia, 2009;
  • scriptwriting workshop for international students at the Macedonian Language Seminar, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia, 2009;
  • Personal Narratives – Laboratory on Dance and Dramaturgy,  scriptwriting workshop, organised by Intercult, Stockholm and Lokomotiva, Skopje, 2010;
  • presentation and workshop of A Little Book of Traps at the New Drama Festival, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2013;
  • scriptwriting workshop for students of the Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television, Ljubljana, and Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana, Slovenia (the workshop was held in the context of the 44th festival of Slovenian National Drama, organised by Prešernovo gledališče in Kranj);
  • playwriting workshop for the Arts Council of Malta, School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta and St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Malta, 2014;
  • “Teaching the Unteachable”, paper at the colloquium Virtuous Circle?, organised by the Practice-Based Research Centre, School of Media, Arts and Design, Canterbury Christ Church University, 30 June, 2015;
  • opening presentation for the Summer Scriptwriting Camp, International Academy of Scriptwriting, Sofia, Bulgaria, 24 July, 2016
  • “Live, Die, Repeat: Adaptation of Hamlet for a production at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade”, research presentation at the Canterbury Christ Church University Centre for Practice-Based Research, 23 May 2017;
  • public talk and presentation on the adaptation of Hamlet for the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade at the Mini Book Fair, Fulham Library, 25 February, 2017;
  • “The Spark Which Escapes”, keynote speech at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Conference at The University of the Arts, Belgrade, Serbia, 9 July 2018.

Goran Stefanovski received a small research grant from the Department of Media at Canterbury Christ Church University to undertake a follow-up to existing research aimed towards publication. The research was to lead to the writing of an appendix to improve the usefulness of A Little Book of Traps. Having originally been intended as a scriptwriting tool-box, it was to acquire added value with a series of clear examples of how those tools have been effectively used and applied in various formats and textures, times and traditions, with very different structural variations and very distinct shades of meaning.

The objective of the research was a case study and close analysis of dramatic “traps” as found in a body of typical scripting texts and formats: REALITY TV SHOW (Big Brother); COMEDY (Monty Python); TV SOAP (EastEnders); TV SERIAL (The Sopranos); DOCUMENTARY (Planet Earth); CARTOON (Disney’s Alice in Wonderland); SHAKESPEAREAN PLAY (Hamlet); AVANTGARDE PLAY (Waiting for Godot); HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER (Star Wars); ART FILM (Blow-Up); SILENT FILM (Battleship Potemkin); EXPERIMENTAL FILM (a piece by Bill Viola); VIDEO GAME (Super Mario Bros); TV ADVERTISEMENT (30-second ads); MUSIC VIDEO (short MTV pieces). Each case study was to consist of an in-depth analysis of the settings of the Where, the When, the Who, the Why, the What and the How in relation to how crucial each element is in enhancing the action and the meaning of the narrative.

The outcome of the research was to write the appendix and prepare the book for a second edition, primarily intended as a method of direct teaching of scriptwriting to students. However, it could also have been strongly applicable as a method of transfer of knowledge to managers, business people, lawyers or other professionals to enhance their imagination and creativity.

Stefanovski died before this research was completed or the appendix written.