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The Celluloid Paper Trail: Film Script Identification Course at UCLA August 5-9 2024

Kevin Royal JohnsonErin McGuirlKevin Royal Johnson and Erin McGuirl will teach the first west coast Master Class on film script identification from August 5-9, 2024 at UCLA’s California Rare Book School (CalRBS). Kevin Johnson has been a rare bookseller and appraiser for nearly 30 years. He is the author of the first book on film script identification, The Celluloid Paper Trail, published in 2019 by Oak Knoll Press and is the owner of Royal Books in Baltimore. Erin McGuirl has been the Executive Director of the Bibliographical Society of America since 2018. She is trained as a special collections librarian, and has worked for over a decade with institutional and private collections in New York City.

Course overview:

What kind of text is a screenplay? How were they made, and by whom? How did their form and function change over time? In hands-on exercises with archival film scripts and through course lectures, students will explore these questions by learning about the history, development, and bibliographical identification of the American film script, from the silent era to the end of the twentieth century.  

Screenplays are guides to the creation of another work of art: a motion picture. Students enrolled in The Celluloid Paper Trail will learn to see scripts as “blueprints” for films and to identify the material cues that tell how they fit into the larger filmmaking process, revealing the contributions of both credited and silent participants in their creation. The course will teach students to complete a full bibliographical analysis of the film script and identify common office duplication methods. On the final day of the course, students will work from their analyses of the scripts themselves, students will finally experiment with incorporating material evidence into critical arguments about the history of film and production studies, with a focus on queer and feminist bibliography and the history of women in film. 

Librarians, archivists, graduate students, faculty, and rare book dealers are encouraged to take the course. This course is intended for anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of screenplays as material artifacts of film production: if you work with screenplays and/or cinematic archives, this course is for you. It will also be of interest to individuals who study or work with non-letterpress material texts and twentieth century archival collections, and to booksellers, curators, and librarians whose institutions sell or acquire (or may in the future) cinematic archives and screenplays. 

Class size is very limited. For more info and to register, click here...