Hollywood`s Lonely Place @ JFK-I, Berlin

June 2009: This course has now come to its successful conclusion. We now await the student Research Papers, deadline early August (09!).

INT.    ROOM 340, JFK-I, Berlin    MONDAYS LATE PM

Alan`s Summer 09 course at the John F. Kennedy Institute of North American Studies will concentrate on the post 1920s histories and working practices of the screenwriting process.

This will be Alan`s fifth programme for the Department of Culture since Spring/Summer 2007 and will be suited for students undertaking BA Advanced study only.

This page will provide a weekly breakdown of class activities, film viewings (2), links, essay titles….and reminders. So bookmarking is advised!

It will be a block seminar, which means we will have SEVEN sessions instead of the full 14.

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Hollywood’s Lonely Place: Screenwriting Cultures since the 1920s (BA, Vertiefungsmodul A, Vertiefungsseminar) ; (im Magisterstudiengang ist dies ein PS, 2 SWS, 7 ECTS-credits) Mo 16.00-20.00ZI JFKI Lansstr. 7-9, 340 (Hörsaal) (20.4.) Alan Taylor
“In terms of its ideological and cultural influence, ‘Hollywood’ is arguably the world’s most influential global industry. As that industry has rhetorically positioned itself as only ‘entertainment’, so, since the 1920s, the work of its writers have been cast by producers as marginalised features of its industrial process.However, the recent Hollywood writer’s strike of 2008 confounded this assumption, highlighting as it did how the multi-billion dollar enterprise still relies on a sequential pipeline that starts with a pen, pencil, keyboard and Union affiliation.This course is a timely opportunity, therefore, to centre stage the screenwriting process – from the 1920s to the present. At its core, participant’s three short essays and shared round table deliveries will focus on developing skills in media literacy by way of analysing the interpretative process from script to screen, and via a critical engagement with the work of case study writers and changing working practices – from film and television to contemporary New Digital Media.In addition, one aim of in-course review and feedback on such essays is to develop and enhance student’s own written skills in precision, drafting and editing.Our work overall will build upon student’s interests in American culture, politics, and history and can lead to a 20-page Research Paper.”

! All students in attendance will be required to work towards the Shein/Credit. This will inlvolve 3 short essays from each student. So no hitch-hikers this time round!

Useful overview links begin here:


Hello! We have 17 students signed up, each and every one very welcome.

  • Covered: schedule, essay titles, working procedures, expectations.
  • Snap shot viewing & analysis on `Citizen Kane` (Welles, 41) & `White Hunter, Black Heart` (Eastwood, 1991).


SESSION 3…May 4th



Poster (colour)

Poster (colour)



  • Film viewing & analysis of Nic Ray`s ´In A Lonely Place` (Ray, 1950)
  • Students now working on essay titles
  • Reading for next week, interview with Alec Sokolow


SESSION 4….May 11th

SESSION 5….May 18th

  • Round table Student Deliveries & Exchanges extending from  submitted essays AND filmscript adaptations  (!) based on Hemingway`s `A Reader Writes`. This will be an opportunity for each student to present their work in an informal setting, highlighting their approach to the chosen title, what interested them, surprised them, how it links to previous work/study and might anticipate further work…So, no Powerpoint crutches or handouts.

SESSION 6…May 25th


  • Into frm Robert McGee on `Chinatown`
  • Second film viewing & analysis: `Adaptation` (Jonze, 2003) narrative, technique, representation…?
      JUNE 1st: National Holiday

    SESSION 7…June 8th

    Already! Our final session.