Screenwriting (15 page sample of feature length):
Graduate Research (full papers and bibliographies available upon request):
Facebook: The Problem of Regulating a Corporatized Public Sphere
Master’s Thesis Abstract:
As social media technology develops rapidly, especially in the developing world, the question of how to regulate sites such as Facebook to curb the spread of harmful content becomes increasingly complex. In the first section of this thesis, I consider the technological containment models developed in tandem with the printing press in Europe. I explore the emergence of copyright and authorship in relation to print technology regulation, exposing the misapplication of these principles to social media (a radically different technology). The second section focuses on Facebook’s role as a transnational privatized public sphere, investigating Facebook’s legal and social entanglements in various global regions and the complexities of regulating a social network of 2.6 billion users. The third section takes a deep dive into the works of three different technology experts, putting their theories surrounding the future of social media in dialogue with one another. The paper concludes by determining the factors that must come into play to reach a solution to the infinitely complicated problem of social media regulation. Ultimately, it all boils down to a triangulating power structure subdivided between Facebook as a platform, the governments structures that they encounter, and most importantly, the users that make the social network run.
Thomas Hardy and the Precarious Pastoral
Centering on Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, this paper places Hardy as an outlier in the English pastoral tradition (as defined by William Empson, Louis Adrian Montrose, and other literary critics). It describes how Hardy uses the fictional space of Wessex as a canvas upon which to explore the social issues of his day, including the impact of the industrial revolution on rural society. Through a close reading of the text, I argue that Far from the Madding Crowd exemplifies Hardy’s notion of a precarious pastoral space or a form of pastoral living which is constantly on the brink of collapse. In doing so, Hardy commandeers a traditionally aristocratic literary form to create sympathy for the plight of the common agrarian laborer.
Subjects in Compositional Space: The Psychological Effects of Framing in Cinema
Focusing on cinematographic technique as the essential building block of filmmaking, this paper considers the way shot composition impacts the psychology of the film viewer, catalyzing narrative progression and character development. Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida serves as my primary example, as I place the visual style of Ida and its narrative resonances in conversation with some of the great cinematic works of the past (Citizen Kane, Vertigo, The Passion of Joan of Arc) and other examples of modern cinematic technique (Get Out, Call Me by Your Name). The paper is divided into three sections, each of which centers on the relationship of cinematographic framing to character development, drawing upon the work of such film theorists and critics as David Bordwell, Jean Epstein, Mary Ann Doane, and Tom Gunning.
Much Ado About Shakespeare’s Universality
This paper approaches the question of Shakespeare’s cross-cultural and trans-historic universality through an analysis of the transformation his works undergo in the process of film adaptation. It brings the text of Much Ado About Nothing in dialogue with Joss Whedon’s film adaptation of the play which transposes Shakespeare’s original language onto the anachronistic context of contemporary California wine culture. In doing so, Whedon transforms the text into a commentary on the gentrification and sexism inherent to modern Californian culture, yet he also manages to maintain a strong fidelity to the text which was written 400 years beforehand. Herein lies the genius of Shakespeare. His enduring relatability and universality originate from his ability to build ambiguity and endless levels of interpretation into his plays. A close reading of both the original source material and Whedon’s film version, in the context of academic research on Shakespeare’s universality, reveals that Shakespeare wrote the plays to be adapted; they are meant to change with the times.
Humanity vs. Nature: After London, Darwin, and Yellowstone
A pioneer in the in futuristic dystopic science fiction writing, Richard Jefferies drew upon the radical new theory of evolution and the burgeoning concept of nature conservation in his experimental novel After London. This paper contextualizes After London within the landscape of popular English culture at the time of the novel’s publishing in 1885. It considers how Jefferies builds upon Darwin’s theories to posit an apocalyptic future brought on by unchecked industrialization. It then reaches across the Atlantic drawing connections between the futuristic hellscape of Jefferies’s London and early reports of the terrible wonders of Yellowstone National Park. By proving that Jefferies drew inspiration both from scientific theory and natural discoveries, this paper analyzes how the novel serves both as an industrial critique and as an early proponent of conservation, an idea vital to the incipient American national parks movement.