Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145


Paul Schrader contends that the screenplay is an oral medium. This article explores the validity of this contention by analysing the ballad Janet or Lady Maisry (Child 65) and its use of what are generally thought of as screenwriting techniques to tell its story, in particular looking at the way it makes use of montage, multiple narratives and different timescales to create suspense and involve the audience. It looks at the role of visualization in oral narrative and suggests that screenwriters and analyses have much to gain by looking at films as oral narratives, which like ballads are told rhythmically in real time in front of an audience. It suggests that screenwriters and academics studying the screenplay could benefit from looking at song and music as a helpful paradigm for understanding screenplay techniques and developing screenplay notation.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): ballads; epic; narrative; orality; screenwriting; storytelling
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