Writing the Writer: An exploration of the biographical screenplay

Kristiania University College, Westerdals Department of Film and Media

Project leader: Siri Senje

Project period: 2023-2026


Writing the Writer focuses on the screenplay genre as a distinctive form of artistic practice and its subgenre, the historical/biographical drama. With the advent of quality drama for television and, more recently, streaming, serial drama has emerged as arguably the most widespread form of storytelling in today´s world. While the feature film has been considered the director´s domain, the serial drama has foregrounded the screenwriter´s authorial position. Since screenplays form the basis upon which major artistic choices for audiovisual productions are made, this altered storytelling paradigm calls for increased focus on screenwriting practice and the serial drama as an object for practice-based research. 


Writing the Writer responds to this altered reality. The project´s main artistic outcome will be a biographical, serial screenplay, based on the “chaotic years” of writer Henrik Ibsen. In recent years, scholars like White (2006), Rosenstone (2012), and Thanouli (2018) have heralded historical screen drama as an essential medium for interpreting and making meaning of our past. This project will explore how a biographical screenplay, through specific poetic tools such as incarnation and reenactment, can contribute a different and unique kind of knowledge of its subject. Alternative creative tools such as visual material, writerly improvisation and writing from specific geographical spaces will be tested out in the process. Since the screenplay is an “intermediate text,” intended for production, the project will also situate itself within the industry context, using the setting as a laboratory for new development models.


This project asks:

How can fiction writing be an alternative route to making meaning of our past and its central characters? 


Read more: Imagining for the Screen - Writing the Writer (senje.no)