NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Degrees of Separation

BY DANTE DeBONO – ‘Degrees of separation’ is a reflective consideration of the ways in which creators navigate the complexity of their internal writing processes as unique configurations of their lived experiences.

Specifically, it interrogates the intersections of my own writing as part of my PhD candidature that explores the queer potential of revisionist adaptations for the screen. While film and television are relatively accessible mediums to facilitate the dissemination of ideas through thematic storytelling, the screenplay itself is an undervalued creative output that is often relegated to a technical document that merely provides the blueprint for an end product. Utilising queer methodological approaches, screenwriting enhances the need to normalise the inclusion and appreciation of seemingly subaltern creative practices beyond capitalistic industrial standards, echoing the call for a more progressive and accepting society found in the work itself. This project has seen me navigating my creative practice as a RESEARCHER, a WRITER, and ultimately a FAN with these personas appearing as the three characters in the following screenplay.

By acknowledging and incorporating subversive fan fiction techniques that I have been developing since I was a teenager into my creative practice research, my writing outcomes have been led down novel paths. These familiar thought processes encourage me to imagine more progressive and inclusive worlds for my adaptation without losing sight of the original text, successfully taking up a queer methodological approach characteristic of certain fan fiction rewritings of canonical narratives. This navigation of a dedicated fan’s love and a critical researcher’s dissatisfaction combine fan fiction practices and academic rigour, a dynamic that plays out in ‘Degrees of separation’ as mediated by the writer’s task to explicate knowledge learned through creative practice research. This screenplay offers a creative-critical reflection on the multifaceted approach writers can embody as they work, articulated as an interaction between various selves at the commencement of a PhD candidature utilising screenwriting practice research. 

Read the screenplay

References

Bacon-Smith, Camille 1992, Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, USA. 

Fandom 2023, ‘Tumblr 2023 Ships’, Tumblr, 1 Dec, <https://fandom.tumblr.com/post/735515991901192192/ships-unexpected-connections-happen-in-two-places>, accessed 15 Feb 2024.

Fanlore 2024, ‘AO3 Ship Stats 2023’, Fanlore, Organization for Transformative Works, <https://fanlore.org/wiki/AO3_Ship_Stats_2023>, accessed 15 Feb 2024.

Hannibal 2013–2015, created by Bryan Fuller.

Harris, Thomas 1988, Silence of the Lambs, St Martin’s Press, New York, USA. 

Harris, Thomas 1981, Red Dragon, Random House, New York, USA.

Jenkins, Henry 2013, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. Updated 20th anniversary edition, Routledge, New York, USA. 

Nielsen, EJ & Finn, Kavita Mudan 2018, ‘Blood in the moonlight: Hannibal as queer noir’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 568–582.

Scarano, Ross 2014, ‘Bryan Fuller Knows You’re Reading into “Hannibal’s” Homoeroticism, and He Thinks It’s Hilarious’, Complex Media, 17 Sep,  <https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/09/bryan-fuller-hannibal-interview-slash-fiction>, accessed 15 Feb 2024.

St. James, Emily 2015, ‘Bryan Fuller Looks Back at His Show’s Last Season.’, Vox, 30 Aug, <https://www.vox.com/2015/8/30/9224313/hannibal-finale-recap-bryan-fuller>, accessed 15 Feb 2024.

Stam, Robert 2005, ‘Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation’, in Robert Stam & Alessandra Raengo (eds), Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation, Blackwell Publishing, Massachusetts, USA, pp. 1–52.

Stam, Robert 2000, ‘Beyond fidelity: The dialogics of adaptation’, in James Naremore (ed), Film Adaptation, Rutgers University Press, New Jersey, USA, pp. 54–76. 

Star Trek 1966–1969, created by Gene Roddenberry.

Taylor, Ryan 2022, ‘Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal: Cannibalizing the Canon’, Journal of Screenwriting, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 347–359.


Dante DeBono is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia with the goal of promoting social inclusivity and equality through work focussed on diversifying queer representation in research and creative outputs. Her current thesis is focused on the queer potential of revisionist adaptations in fiction through screenwriting-based practice-led research that has seen the development of a queered modernisation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. She has been on the central committee for the Gender, Sex and Sexualities Conference since 2021, and is an advisory team member for the UniSA Oral History Hub.

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