11th Screenwriting Research Network (SRN) International Conference

Writing for cinema. Writing for TV.

Call for Papers

The 11th Screenwriting Research Network (SRN) International Conference will be hosted by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.
It will take place from Thursday September 13th to Saturday September 15th, 2018.

Abstracts for original paper presentations and panels may be submitted until December 15, 2017.

The main theme of the 2018 Screenwriting Research Network conference is the relationship between cinema and television storytelling. Once two separate worlds, cinema and television narratives are progressively becoming overlapping domains in terms of screenwriting techniques, development methods, careers, contents and audiences.

If authorship, sophisticated drama, address to educated viewers, consideration by the critics had been for long the exclusive marks of stories written for the big screen, this is much less the case today. The cable channels and nowadays the streaming platforms revolution have led to series that have zeroed the distance from cinema artistic quality. Walls between careers have fallen, with prominent screenwriters like Aaron Sorkin, Paul Haggis, Stephen Knight and Steven Zaillian crossing borders between the two industries, writing for both media. Besides, the collaboration of a team of writers/authors in the development of a narrative idea — which is typical of the TV industry writers’ rooms — has started to become a valuable method also in the cinema industry, for example at Pixar, or when narrative potential of comic universes and properties are explored at a studio department as a possible material for franchises.

Yet, differences still exist — cinema is still a director’s medium, whilst TV is a writer’s medium, especially in the American industry that still has a very high share of the markets in any countries — and new ones have emerged — for example the specialization of cinema and TV storytelling in different kind of characters, with heroes and superheroes dominating the big screen, and so called “antiheroes” the TV series.

The conference intends to tackle these issues, discussing them from the wide range of theoretical approaches and professional angles related to the craft of screenwriting.

We are particularly interested in abstracts for presentations on the following topics:

  • The validity of canonical film narrative structure in writing a TV series.
  • The different potentialities of television and cinema storytelling for the practice of filmadaptation.
  • How new platforms and spectatorship habits are influencing the way stories areconstructed for TV.
  • Do different target audiences (mainstream cinema audience, pay TV channels audiences,broadcast audiences, independent cinema audiences) require a different narrativerhetoric and/or different stories?
  • Making documentaries for cinema, making documentaries for TV.
  • The two different production cultures and development processes of cinema and TV.
  • The superhero narrative: reasons, values and flaws, successes and failures.
  • The antihero narrative: constants and variations, cultural meanings and social influences.
  • National specificity in writing for cinema/for Tv
  • Manuals for TV writing: a not yet fulfilled market demand?

We would also like to invite abstracts for presentations beyond the theme of the conference. We are looking forward to abstracts that cover the wide field of screenwriting studies, including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Practice-based research in the field of screenwriting.
  • Different screenwriting practices and formats.
  • Case studies on individual writers or texts.
  • Historical perspectives on screenwriting and screenplays.
  • Screenwriting and narrative theory in writing for short films.
  • Screenwriting for games and animation.
  • Screenwriting for new media forms, online, transmedia, etc. Are stories fully transferrable from one medium to another?
  • How does the digital age change screenwriting?
  • Writing for games (including video games and ARGs)
  • Writing for online video as a new genre and profession
  • The history of screenwriting around the globe, including Hollywood
  • Screenwriting and the pressures of globalization
  • Screenwriting traditions in different national contexts
  • Screenwriting and adaptation

Proposals for individual presentations and pre-constituted panels:

Time allotted to each paper is 20 minutes plus discussion. Abstracts for original paper presentations and panels may be submitted until December 15, 2017. Earlier submissions are welcome.

Please note: original, in-person paper presentations only (no repetitions from other conferences or former SRN conferences. Video presentations are not possible).

Proposals for pre-constituted panels should include no more than three presenters (20 mins for each paper), the overall issue of the panel, abstracts for all of the presentations and, if possible, the name and a short biography of the chair of the panel. The chair should not be one of the presenters. If a proposal for a panel does not include a chair, the conference committee will appoint one.Please send abstracts (250-300 words) as a Word document, with the email subject heading “SRN2018 Proposal” to: srnconference2018@gmail.com

Remember to state your name, affiliation and contact information. Also include a brief biographical statement (100 words) detailing your publications and/or screenwriting practice.The organising committee plans to notify acceptances/rejections by January 31, 2018. Please see our SRN2018 website at:


It will be updated with general informations about the conference (keynote speakers, housing, etc.).