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Shari writes:
"Just like plays, they must be
read -- and read effectively -- by actors and directors and all of the
other people who put a film together.  In fact, screenplays are the most
concrete example in our time of the symbiotic relationship between the
interpreter and the interpretation, between interpretation and
communication.
 
Camera "techno-babble" is no different from theatrical directions, except
that it is less familiar to the professors.  This is not necessarily true
for the students, however, who in this visually-oriented time of music
videos et al. are much more adept at envisioning a camera angle than an
"enters left" indication.
 
As for separating the text from the production -- they *are* separate.
Just as each theatrical performance is separate from the text of the play.
Is a screenplay invalidated because its production is fixed?  I think not.
Students are forever amazed at how differently a film comes out of a
screenplay from how they (think they) would have done it."
 
Good points, all.  Screenplays are well worth studying on their own.  There
have been occasional series from publishing houses that do justice to the
original script.  Simon and Schuster used to have a great double series of
Classic Film Scripts and Modern Film Scripts, covering everything from
Eisenstein to the French New Wave.  More recently, Rutgers has done a good
series of critical editions of selected screenplays, and Wisconsin has
published scripts of a number of the Warner Bros. and other films in the
collection at the Center for Film and Theater Research.
 
I know that various readers have included an occasional film script (usually
the likes Bergman or Kurosawa) since the 1960s.
 
The one thing to point out is that a film script can be studied as a
separate product but it is still not the film as such.  To speak of a film
without some "technobabble" is like studying poetry with no mention of
rhythm, meter or metaphor.
 
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN