SRN Executive Minutes – October

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 19.10.2020 at 10 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Skype)

Circulation list: Carmen Sofia Brenes (CSB), Rose Ferrell (RF), Ann Igelström (AI), Rafael Leal (RL), Margaret McVeigh (MM), Paolo Russo (PR), Rosanne Welch (RW)

The meeting begins at 10.05 pm BST

Apologies for absence

RF

Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized below in the agenda. The minutes are approved without changes.

Welcoming new ECR

All EC members welcome AI who officially starts this month in her ECR role and look forward to working with her in the new academic year.

Update on SRN2021 conference (PR, All)

  • Status update re: venue, suppliers and costs

PR has secured new venue – i.e. Andrew Wiles Building available on Aug 30-Sept 1, 2021. The change of venue became necessary as, sadly, Oxford Brookes University is all booked for graduations next Summer. The Andrew Wiles Building is part of the Mathematical Institute in Oxford City Centre and offered better facilities at less cost compared to more historic colleges, whose hospitality team insisted on SRN members renting all their on-campus rooms.

The main lecture theatre in the new venue accommodates up to 250 people and offers state-of-the-art AV. PR has revised the conference budget thoroughly (which stood at around £17,000 for SRN2020). The move to the new venue meant a significant increase due to the hiring cost of the spaces – now forecasting between £26,600 and £33,300 depending on the number of delegates. In order to keep the registration fee around £100 baseline early bird rate, some budget item had to be revised for savings: e.g. the conference materials will be entirely paperless, and there might not be room in the budget for a pre-conference wine reception. However, these can be added back in later based on numbers of attendees and final budget. PR’s plan to break even is also viable thanks to the financial support he has secured from Oxford Brookes’s School of Arts, who has pledged £5000 in funding. In the last two months, PR has also secured substantial additional support of up to £12,000 through Brookes’ Research & Development funding.

One other consequence of the move to the new venue and revised budget, is that SRN2021 will revert back to the 3-day format and, as a result, the maximum number of papers is estimated at around 108, which means the organizing committee might have to withdraw acceptance of a few (from the 118 initially shortlisted).

  • Uncertainties due to COVID-19 and reaching out to delegates
  • Planning alternative scenarios
  • Updating Membership and delegates

The EC will have to keep monitoring the situation caused by pandemic globally. Realistically, and optimistically, we won’t be able to confirm that the conference will in fact go ahead until Spring 2021. Should this be the case, PR will have to revise the phasing of the various registration rates/deadlines.

ACTION – PR will reach out to the Membership and to this year’s shortlisted delegates to start gauging their ability to attend. A new Call for Papers will be issued, if necessary (i.e. if too many delegates decide not to attend anymore).

CSB asks about the viability of going virtual, should the pandemic persist for longer than hoped?

PR confirms this scenario is on the table. This will of course be an issue for the EC to discuss thoroughly in the forthcoming months, taking into account all the possible drawbacks: e.g. time zones make it impossible to have all delegates join online sessions simultaneously.

ACTION – The EC to discuss possible scenarios and alternative options.

PR confirms that the two Keynotes (i.e. Murray Smith and Liz Kilgarriff) and a “surprise” guest are still on tap to attend 2021, although TBC nearer the conference date when the situation is clearer.

Website and YouTube channel

RL confirms all new EC roles have been updated.

Update on accessibility requirement (PR, RL)

PR confirms that new UK law only applies to public bodies – the SRN’s website is not. However, the EC note that it will be a good idea to discuss ways to improve and enhance accessibility once the renewal of the website is sorted out.

Action plan for renewal of host/domain of SRN web-page:

RL confirms contacts at University of Leeds have changed and that the current agreement expires in July 2021. PR observes that with Ian Macdonald not at the department in Leeds anymore, we do need a new contact there. Moreover, the current website design at Leeds Uni is not very flexible as it does not allow many plug-ins. RL remarks that if we were to move to WordPress, the subscription would be free, but we’d still need host server fees paid. RL’s production company would offer use of their server for free. In short, we would be able to keep domain while the website would be hosted on RL’s server. RL adds that he could ask his university in Rio for institutional support as a host. PR suggests we should post a public call for hosts first (to which Rio as well could respond). CSB observes that hosts do not necessarily have to be universities. Also individual members should be considered. Nonetheless, we should offer first look option to Leeds as they were foundational to the birth of the SRN.

ACTION – PR to contact Ian Macdonald and, subsequently, new contacts at University of Leeds for good practice before moving on to Call.

ACTION – RL to draft Call for Hosts with relevant guidelines and specs to be discussed and approved by the EC by December 2020.

Update on EC’s YouTube videomessages (All)

PR has posted the first YouTube message and calls for other EC members to do the next few. Short videos can be sent to PR who can then add logo and copyright-free music track.

ACTION – RW offers to do one in November to announce special issue of JOS – perhaps together with RF?

Update on ongoing history(ies) of SRN (RF, CSB, RL)

CSB reports that Ian Macdonald is still working on writing a history of the origin of the SRN. RF’s update on oral histories is adjourned.

Update on design of new slogan (RF)

This item too is adjourned to the next meeting.

Social Media (AI)

AI praises Alexandra Ksenofontova for a thorough handoff re: the use of our Facebook page. AI plans to revamp the use of the SRN’s Twitter account, i.e. more activity by retweeting members’ tweets and post on updates on research/industry to start with. RL can install the WordPress plug-in on Twitter – this allows automatic posting of links from WordPress to Twitter.

ACTION – AI and RL to add WordPress plug-in and test it

Any other business

PR reports a recent exchange in JISCMail where a member complained about potential misuse and for the EC to moderate/intervene. Having assessed the content of the exchange, PR does not believe this to constitute a breach of netiquette.

RW observes that, in this case, the message happened to promote books about screenwriting. Others in the past did the same, which helped her find new titles to review for JOS and therefore ended up being helpful and useful.

RL announces an upcoming event called “Screenwriting Dialogues”, i.e. a series of talks he has organized in Brazil with screenwriters and producers. PR suggests this to be posted on our Facebook page and on the website under Local Initiatives.

MM will issue the Call for next Newsletter issue in a few weeks’ time. MM wonders – given new modes of communication we are adding to our interactions with our Membership – what are the philosophies/rationale behind each new form introduced. Is the Newsletter old hat? Can we do book reviews from other languages even printed in other languages?

MM reports that previous issues have also included reflections from the last conference that were very personal and can serve as archival material in the future; another article covered all the EC’s members work for the Network.

PR observes that while format and technology might need us to adapt and update/upgrade from time to time, it is still vital to collect valuable information in one place. For instance, the new YouTube videos were introduced as a surrogate for the EC to communicate with the

Membership in the absence of an AGM this year but will not replace the information contained in the Newsletter. MM also wonders whether the fact that she uses a Page template might pose an issue. RL suggests we might be able to use a WordPress template which allows for better posting on the website once we move to a new hosts. This would allow to embed all Newsletter issues as PDF, or as a file for download (like we currently do for minutes), by converting from pdg to html. PR appreciates that while suggestions for improvement are always welcome, the current look of the template seems well designed, simple and effective.

MM adds that the theme for the next Newsletter issue will be inspired by the “From my window” post during the pandemic. But it will also build off RL’s “Screenwriting Dialogues” and similar SRN-style events in other countries and will feature the languages of those countries. RW and RL praise the idea!

Date of next meeting: Monday 16 November 2020, 9 pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

We Welcome All!

In the past few months most of us have been following news and developments of Black Lives Matter and the renewed discussion this has precipitated regarding – amongst other things –
the decolonisation of curricula, the dismantling of current systems of oppression within organizations and our responsibilities as scholars within our respective HEIs and countries
to keep looking inward and outward in order to enable individuals to take action, ensure positive change and, last but not least, remain accountable. Many of us have seen and received institutional statements against racism, discrimination and violence, some of which were very heartfelt, others more matter-of-factly or oddly worded. To the extent that, in some cases, they were seen as rather self-serving; others, paradoxically, led to vehement criticism of (in all likelihood unintended and yet telling) added insult to injury.

The SRN Executive Council has been paying close attention to the current situation and pondered whether we should issue our own formal statement as well. As we all reflect on many personal and much broader issues in these unprecedented trying times, we would like instead to reiterate two founding tenets of our Constitution that outline, amongst the principle aims of the SRN, “to promote policies which encourage full participation in screenwriting studies by all sections of society; and which address issues of gender and sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability” and “to establish, maintain links with, and encourage dialogue with similar Associations and other appropriate bodies, both nationally and internationally.”

First of all then, rather than simply showing off how good we are, we felt we wanted to renew our support to all colleagues who might be experiencing difficult work and/or life situations, wherever they are and for whatever reason.

When the C19 crisis is over and we are finally able to officially confirm SRN2021, the plan is to make our next Annual Conference into a champion of inclusivity: the theme is “Pushing boundaries” – let’s push them! The following year in Vienna, it will be about “Global” issues; in Missouri in 2023 the conference will tackle “Gender inequality”; and as for Rio de Janeiro in 2024 we’d like to borrow Stuart Hall’s words to consider “colonization as part of an essentially transnational and transcultural global process”. In other words, we have already set a four-year path that calls out to submit bold papers to advance and establish our field at the forefront of the challenges of our times.

What about now? In the last academic year, one of the long-term actions introduced and pursued by the Executive Council has been to reach out and encourage more and more active participation from members from so far underrepresented regions. This is an ongoing, systematic commitment, also reflected in the new role of Membership and Inclusion Officer (currently, Rose Ferrell). We invite all members to participate in and contribute to this effort: any suggestions to take down barriers and make our members feel “at home” and valued in the SRN will be most welcome.

Resolution re: 2020 AGM and Election of Executive Council

This Call to Membership (CTM) and Resolution is posted to all SRN Members via the SRN mailing list and is available on the SRN2020 Conference website as well as here on SRN’s website. It aims to consult and call all Members to take action by expressing their preference for one of two options re: this year’s AGM and related EC elections.

1)     Both AGM and elections to be delayed to September 2021 + Mandate of current EC members extended automatically by one year; or

2)     AGM (only) delayed to September 2021 + “virtual” EC elections to be held in September 2020

Members are invited to read the full details in the PDF document attached HERE (also available on the SRN website and on the Conference website) and to cast their preference by clicking by no later than THURSDAY 19 JUNE, 3 pm (UK time).

The CTM follows on from the announcement issued on 17 March re: the postponement of the SRN2020 Annual Conference and Awards due to the COVID-19 crisis. It outlines the legalities of the pending situation and reports about the decision/recommendation reached by the Executive Council re: this year’s AGM and related EC elections, which has been the most substantial item of discussion in the April and May meetings. You can find full details of these in the agendas and minutes available on the SRN website as usual.

Kind regards

 

Paolo Russo

SRN Acting Chairperson

on behalf of the SRN Executive Council

SRN2020 postponing to September 2021

17 March 2020

 

Dear SRN Members and SRN2020 Delegates

I hope this finds you well despite everything that is going on. I am aware that you were awaiting this with some understandable trepidation, and given that there is no way of sugar-coating this, I’ll cut straight to the chase. Here’s the tagline version:

SRN2020 WILL BE POSTPONED TO SEPTEMBER 2021

And here are the (rather) lengthier but important details.

Yesterday the Executive Council of the SRN discussed as a matter of urgency the current emergency caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. After careful evaluation of all possible scenarios, data and information available thus far, the EC has come to the conclusion that running SRN2020 in September 2020 as per plan is no longer a viable and safe option. 

Under no circumstance, even assuming the most optimistic outcome in the shortest period of time, we will put the safety and wellbeing of our members/colleagues/friends at risk; at the moment and for the foreseeable future, there is no way of guaranteeing that if we were to still run the conference next September.

The situation so far shows that:

  • All 35 countries the SRN2020 delegates come from have been affected, some in a very significant way;
  • Around 20 have now closed borders and/or banned flights from some/all countries, and this number is increasing daily;
  • Almost all 35 countries have introduced some form of lockdown, plus quarantining for incoming visitors, and self-isolation;
  • Universities from almost all 35 countries have suspended all travel abroad until at least end of April or indefinitely;
  • Insurances (both via university or private) are not guaranteeing cover anymore or refusing flat out at the moment.
  • According to most reliable data (which I have narrowed down to the WHO and the CSSE at Johns Hopkins University), the peak is yet to come in most countries and is to be expected between now and the early Summer, depending on the country. Other projections seem to indicate a risk in some countries (including the UK) for the outbreak to last until or have a double peak into the Autumn, or to subside by the Summer to then come back in the Winter;
  • Adding to that, the official position of UK authorities so far has caused no little extra uncertainty and the situation is still escalating pretty much everywhere.

In light of the above, the EC has considered other options but none seemed viable or offer any certainty. Postponing would only be possible by moving the Oxford dates to January 2021, but this would most certainly have a rather negative impact on the Vienna conference and delegates would still have to start making plans in the middle of the crisis; furthermore, should the more negative projections prove true, we would still have to cancel or postpone again with even less time to do so.

We also considered whether we could save SRN2020 by the bell by turning it into a virtual conference and still run it this year, but the resources, time and infrastructure will simply not be there. Most colleagues and universities all over the world (including Oxford Brookes) will spend the next few months having to deal with very serious circumstances and work hard at all sort of backup plans, with added pressure on already heavy workloads, and with all the resources available prioritized to this purpose. 

The good news is that all colleagues who were set to organize the Annual Conference in the 2021-23 cycle came to my help and generously agreed to push their events forward by one year in order to free up 2021 for Oxford. I therefore wish to express my deep gratitude to (in chronological order) Claus Tieber, Rosanne Welch, and Rafael Leal. I owe you. This means, to sum up, that our conference agenda for the forthcoming years will be:

  • September 2020 – No International conference (local conferences might still happen later in the year but will be discussed in their respective fora)
  • September 2021 – Oxford (possible dates: either 1-4 or, more likely, 8-11 September)
  • Early October 2022 – Vienna
  • 2023 – Missouri, US
  • 2024 – Rio de Janeiro

I also want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding, and for the many supportive messages and emails received in the past few days.

 

SO, WHAT NEXT?

  • As of today, registration, on-campus accommodation booking and dinner booking are suspended
  • Delegates who have already registered or booked their on-campus accommodation via Brookes’s online facilities will be reimbursed – I will send out instructions and contact details soon
  • The conference theme (i.e. Pushing Boundaries) will remain the same – and, perhaps, now more than ever sounds appropriate
  • Delegates already shortlisted for this year’s original dates are automatically confirmed but will have to confirm their intention to attend in 2021; should any delegates decline for whatever reason, a new CfP will be issued later in the year and we will accept new submissions accordingly to add to the current shortlist
  • Delegates who qualified for the student rate this year will be automatically considered eligible next year too, regardless of whether their status will have changed by then
  • Keynotes will be re-invited with the awareness that they might not be able to confirm availability until nearer the new date next year
  • The SRN Awards 2020 will be pushed to 2021, which will cover a two-year time period with submissions extended until May 2021

New deadlines will be set up for all stages but I will have to rework and restart the whole planning machine all over again and this might take some time. My hope is to get everything geared up by the Summer so as to give everyone plenty of time to adjust their plans. So, please bear with me until then. I will be in touch every now and then anyway.

In the meantime, if you have queries or need any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me either at info@srn2020.com or paolo.russo@brookes.ac.uk and I will do my best to help.

Finally, without a conference being held this year, it means that we don’t know yet whether the AGM (and therefore the EC elections) may take place anyway. The EC will discuss this next month and we will inform all Members once a decision has been made on this matter. One tough bite to swallow at a time!

So… I have managed to draft all this without a hint of irony and it’s been as tough as I had imagined it last night. Apologies for the unusually sombre tone of this announcement but given this is an unprecedented situation for everyone, clarity is paramount. You will allow me one last remark: for all the thinking, planning and energy I have been putting into this in the past few months, this is the one email I never thought I would have to send out.

May all of you be well and safe!

 

Paolo Russo

on behalf of

SRN Executive Council

SRN2020 Organizing Committee

SRN Awards 2020-2021 – Call for Nominations

The SRN AWARDS will celebrate their 2nd edition at the 2021 Conference at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK next September.

We invite all members and colleagues to submit Nominations for the best publications of 2019/2021 by the deadline of 31 May 2021. Both nominations and self-nominations are welcome.

The Awards this year will be again in two categories: 

 

Best Monograph (£400) – for single-authored or co-authored volumes (any format)

Best Journal Article/Book Chapter (£100) – this category now also includes chapters from edited books, thus welcoming the suggestion of SRN Members. Both articles and chapters normally range around 6-8,000 words but the format may vary.

 

While no ratings of journals/publishers will be a factor in the evaluation of submissions, all publications should be scholarly, fully peer-reviewed work underpinned by substantial research specifically in the area of Screenwriting Studies.

Submitted titles must have been published between 1 June 2019 and 31 May 2021.

All submissions will be evaluated independently by our Jury of distinguished academics: Professor Emerita Janet Staiger, Professor Emeritus Tom Stempel and Associate Professor Eva Novrup Redvall.

Winners will be announced at the 2021 SRN Conference in Oxford.

The prize money this year is kindly funded by the School of Arts of Oxford Brookes University.

 

Guidelines for the submission of nominations

All submissions in both categories should be made directly to all three members of the Jury (see contact details below) by 31 May 2020. However, early submissions are most welcome and encouraged.

MONOGRAPHS – Nominees and self-nominees should send hard copies of their monographs directly to each Juror via regular mail/courier. Publishers are usually happy to supply complimentary evaluation/inspection copies: only where this is really not possible (including, for instance, volumes due out very close to the deadline), authors can send a PDF copy of the approved preprint manuscript (in this case via email) as a last resort/backup option.

ARTICLES/CHAPTERS – Individual journal articles (i.e. not the whole journal) or chapters (i.e. not the whole book) should be sent as PDF (as per preprint approved draft) directly to the Jurors via email.

 

Contact details for all submissions:

Janet Staiger, 125 Granite Lane, Austin, TX 78737, USA – Email: jstaiger@utexas.edu

Tom Stempel, 2711 Coolidge Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064, USA – Email: kestrs@ca.rr.com

Eva Novrup Redvall, Dept. of Communication, University of Copenhagen, Southern Campus, Karen Blixens Vej 8, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark – Email: eva@hum.ku.dk

* * *

If you have any enquiries, please contact Paolo Russo at paolo.russo@brookes.ac.uk

Call for Scripts for The Script Department Podcast

The Script Department is a scripted podcast – as well as John Finnegan’s post-doc research project – that has been showcasing lots of great screenplays from writers over the last 12 months and we’d love to hear from practice-led researchers who have academic screenplays they’d like to share with the world.
The objective of this podcast is to showcase the work of screenwriters in a way that is removed from the filmmaking process so that writers can tell the stories they want to tell without concern for industry trends, marketplace demands or production logistics. To show the creative skills of screenwriters in a way that doesn’t depend on the all the outside influences which can determine whether or not a script gets adapted to the screen.
We have a small but consistent listenership right now and we are hoping to build on this in our second year and to do this, we need your help!
We are currently looking for short screenplays of any genre. We will be opening it up to features later in the year but for now we want to concentrate on shorts.
If you’d like to see what we have produced so far, you can visit our website, www.thescriptdepartment.net or search for ‘The Script Department’ where-ever you get your podcasts.
If you like what you hear, you can send a premise or synopsis to contact@thescriptdepartment.net and we will get back to you in due course.