An introduction to voice in screenwriting
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
This article explores the concept of an identifiable screenwriter’s voice, proposing that voice in a screenplay can be understood and described based on its formal and personal characteristics. The term voice can be understood to refer to the authorial presence of the screenwriter(s) whose consciousness has shaped every aspect of the text. This article also argues that the authorial presence is inscribed in a screenplay through the decision-making processes within screenwriting practice which lead the screenwriter to make many concrete and conceptual choices based on their own knowledge, perceptions and sensibilities. By disengaging the argument for voice from questions of quality, any voice is opened to interrogation and description based on its stylistic continuities. The article presents the conceptual framework for screenwriter’s voice, which is argued to be an effective tool through which a screenplay text can be interrogated to locate voice, whether this voice is created by a single or multiple authors.