Do The Right Thing! offers screenwriting strategies that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. These are the five film that are discussed: Moonlight, Get Out, Mudbound, Roma, and Always be My Maybe. The goal is to teach an already challenging writing mode that requires screenwriters to create complex human experiences through visual storytelling. We are in a critical historical moment where the importance of screenwriting can be of the utmost usefulness in the observation of racism, inequity and inclusion in all media. The screen representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or class are not often explicitly addressed at the “front end” of the film production process, specifically, during the creation of the screenplay (whether original or adapted from outside source material). The idea is to introduce and reinforce the importance of accountability for what you write for the screen. This is not to limit the screenwriter’s creative impulses, but rather to create and engage them in consistent ways that reveal unconscious biases and instances of systemic racism. We will use five case studies of commercially successful and award-winning screenplays that resist stereotypes to present multidimensional depictions of historically underrepresented groups, such as LGBTQ, African American, Latino and Asian American. In the discussions of each individual screenplay issues such as the adaptation process, plot structure and devices, characterization, setting, symbolism, and genre conventions are introduced and analyzed in depth.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: CHAPTER ONE – MOONLIGHT (2016) Getting to the universal from the specific Adaptation of an unproduced play Foregrounded three-part structure Upends urban stereotypes Effective use of symbolism CHAPTER TWO – GET OUT (2017) Conventions of the thriller/horror genre Possibilities of a four-act structure Premise and set up Use of symbols from slavery Critique of societal politics CHAPTER THREE – MUDBOUND (2017) Revisiting and Revising a historical moment Dual protagonists – one black, one white Two takes on World War II and its aftermath Creative process resisted identity politics – embraced inclusive collaboration CHAPTER FOUR – ROMA (2018) Structured similar to a short story Class, gender and systemic racism issues Making a usually supporting role of a servant, the lead Setting in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City Use of symbolism CHAPTER FIVE – ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE (2019) Conventions of the romantic comedy Playing with Structure Breaking free of racial stereotypes Asian Americans are Americans not foreigners Quirky and multidimensional characters Inclusion of tragedy and resilience True love in the final scene rather than just romance – twist on the typical rom com