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Transcending the oral roots of screenwriting practices in the Nigerian cinema.

Ajayi, O. B., 2017. Transcending the oral roots of screenwriting practices in the Nigerian cinema. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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AJAYI, Olugbenga Bamidele_Ph.D._2016.pdf



Nigeria has no developed tradition of screenwriting and films tend to be built on principles and techniques derived from oral heritage. Thus the oral and the performative dominate Nigerian film language. The core research problems and questions of this project revolve around how screenwriting practices can be evolved, given the strong influence of oral traditions. The key aim of my practice led research is to improve the quality of Nigerian films by building on and transcending the oral traditions, through developing a more visual and cinematic approach to screenwriting in Nigeria. The research asks: how can the Nigerian Screenwriter evolve an understanding of the concept of screenwriting that is akin to that of other advanced cinema cultures, while maintaining their cultural heritage? In order to achieve my aim of developing a more cinematic approach to screenwriting in Nigeria, the first stage in my research involved looking at, and contextualising three case studies, namely, Thunderbolt (Nigeria, 2001), written by Adebayo Faleti and Femi Kayode, and directed by Tunde Kelani, Chinatown (U.S.A. 1974), written by Robert Towne and directed by Roman Polanski, and L’argent (France, 1983), written and directed by Robert Bresson. I was able to explore the role of the screenplay in shaping cinematic language and the relationship between screenwriting and directing. I also looked briefly at the context of oral storytelling, conducting interviews with prominent Nigerian Academics. Following the case studies, I identified a number of cinematic ingredients, such as how dialogue, mise en scene and visual images were engaged in conveying the key moments of the films, telling the stories and conveying meaning and values to the viewer. These cinematic ingredients also guided me in designing creative practice experiments, including a detailed process of cinematically interpreting a traditional oral story which involved making a documentary on how such stories are told traditionally, writing short screenplays, adapting the same story and making short films, also exploring ways of telling the same story. As part of my methodology, I employed the reflexive practice approach, by reflecting on each experiment and using the interim findings to shape my next experiments. This process resulted in a number of rewrites and drafts of my short screenplays. The results of the findings from my experiments and series of reflections are explored further and disseminated through my final output, a feature screenplay supported by a critical evaluation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright, please contact BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Nigerian cinema ; Screenwriting ; Oral storytelling ; Film
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:29007
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:21 Apr 2017 09:04
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:04


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