Do the Right Thing: Five Screenplays that Embrace Diversity

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Movies of the past were mostly made by white people, for white people.


Not so much anymore. Do The Right Thing! offers screenwriting strategies that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The five films that are discussed are 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.



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Meet The Author

Karla Rae Fuller, MFA, PhD is currently an Associate Professor in the department of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago. She teaches in the Cinema Studies and Screenwriting areas in the undergraduate and MFA graduate programs. She received her PhD from Northwestern University, MFA from Columbia University in New York City and BA from Amherst College.

Prior to teaching at Columbia College, Ms. Fuller held the position of Director of Feature Film Evaluation at Vestron Inc. which produced the hit movie Dirty Dancing among others. She was also a freelance script reader for New Line Cinema, Miramax and various other production companies.

Her research interests include racial and ethnic representation in Hollywood films, postwar Japanese cinema and authorship studies. She has presented her work at film and media conferences both nationally and internationally and also published in numerous film journals.