Cooperative: A Creative Screenwriting Thesis
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Residing at an international student housing cooperative (or co-op) for two years has been–more often than not–akin to being on a nonstop reality television show. Living with sixty people from more than a dozen countries and walks of life has created a never-ending stream of candidly bizarre yet hysterical circumstances. For an aspiring television writer, there could be no better environment for raw inspiration. Cooperative is a half-hour pilot script I first conceptualized in Fall 2017 and later developed in Spring 2018 in an undergraduate screenwriting thesis course modeled after a television writers room, in which students refine ideas, dialogue, and plot constructs through group feedback and class participation. Through three outlines, a treatment, and several iterations of “notes” on my script, I produced a first draft that allowed me to experiment and better understand scripted narrative development, and will ultimately serve as a creative sample for writing positions in the entertainment industry.This thesis is composed of the thirty-page script, addenda comprised of initial draft documents, and a treatise that details my experience writing (and rewriting) the script and serious questions I engaged with during the creative process. Anecdotes from my real life experiences at the Laurel House Co-op in UT’s West Campus, notes from my summer in the University of Texas Semester in Los Angeles program, and feedback on my work from screenplay competitions and writing festivals.