Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Keynote speakers

Sponsored by:

       Master in International Screenwriting and Production


Eleonora Andreatta – Director Rai Fiction

Public broadcasting in the global market era

Rai is a public service broadcaster whose identity is connected to the relationship it has with Italy, Italian values, history and culture. For this reason, Rai Fiction can’t be just a financier, but it is also a commissioning editor, with a complete vision of the product, and the clear challenge to deal with national and International audiences. Hence the need for an industrial studio-like structure, suitable for the production of Tv series, in order to get top ratings in Italy and to compete on a global level, leveraging on Italian history, art and creativity. Rai’s breakthrough: not only bieng a leader in Italian television but also partnering with global TV players, -from cable TV to on demand platforms-, to produce great International content.

Eleonora Andreatta is the Director of Rai Fiction, the department of the Italian public broadcaster RAI in charge of producing and co-producing TV drama and docudrama, with a yearly output of some 500 hours. She is also an Executive director of Rai Com.
After a degree in Italian Literature at Bologna University, she began her career with Academy Pictures, a film distribution company.
She joined RAI in 1995, working as producer, then as responsible for Cinema and Drama programming in Rai 1, and later as Head of Co-productions and TV series at Rai Fiction.
Since September 2012, she is the Director of Rai Fiction, pursuing a policy of product innovation and differentiation. Along the successful production of prime-time domestic drama, where Rai is undisputed leader in Italy, she opened new production lines of series for younger viewers, web series, and high profile projects for an International audience.

Paolo Braga – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Different Industries, Different Screenwriting Schools.
The Italian storytelling approach to TV seriality compared to the US method.

Each industry has its own way of crafting stories for TV. Different organizational models in the task of breaking down stories; the influence of titles which have been successful in a particular market; the peculiar viewing attitudes of a domestic audience… all these factors make screenwriters adopt a combination of writing techniques peculiar to each country. Even if the US writing school has imposed itself as a universal standard — the “orthodoxy” (I.W. Macdonald, 2013) — deviations from its lessons — slight or significant, depending on the case — define the originality of an industry’s storytelling. In this perspective, I am going to consider the Italian school of screenwriting for TV, in order to highlight what is unique to it in comparison to the North American narrative method. For this purpose, I will focus on two cases of international remakes. I will compare a) Red Band Society (Fox, 2014), the unsuccessful US version of the Catalan series Polseres Vermelles, to Braccialetti Rossi (Rai 1, 2014-2017), the successful Italian version of the same medical teen-drama, and b) Parenthood (NBC, 2010-2015), the original US version of a network family drama, to its Italian remake Tutto può succedere (Rai 1, 2015-present). My analyses will show that differences in the degree of thematization and the level of drama characters have to face within each episode are key elements to define the Italian school of writing for TV.

Paolo Braga, Ph.D., is fellow researcher at the Università Cattolica in Milan, where he teaches Screenwriting for Cinema and Television. At the Università Cattolica he also teaches at the Master in International Screenwriting and Production. The rhetorical and persuasive dimensions of storytelling are his general research area, which he has studied in several articles and essays. He has especially written on U.S. TV series and on film dialogue, which is the subject matter of his third and most recent book (Words in action. Forms and techniques of Film Dialogue, Peter Lang, 2015). Before working full time as a University teacher, he has been story consultant for Ballandi Entertainment, a prominent Italian TV production company; and, as a screenwriter, he has been author of a TV movie for Fox Italian Channel and of two episodes of Jules Verne, a cartoon series broadcast on the Italian public channels of Rai. He publishes a blog about screenwriting: www.screenwritersbreakdown.com

Warren Buckland - Oxford Brookes University

“Mind our mouths and beware our talk”: Stylometric analysis of character dialogue in The Darjeeling Limited

Film dialogue has recently received detailed scholarly attention (“Realism in Screenplay Dialogue,” Jill Nelmes 2013; Film Dialogue, edited by Jeff Jaeckle, 2013, etc.). In this paper I build upon this scholarship via current developments in Humanities Computing – specifically, stylometric studies that employ statistics to quantify the language of texts. I aim to study the distinctive linguistic traits of the dialogue in Wes Anderson’s films, and attempt to identify and quantify the stylistic habits (the distinctive voice) of individual characters. Analysis of the dialogue of the three Whitman brothers in The Darjeeling Limited (screenplay by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Jason Schwartzman, 2007) will serve as a case study.

This paper takes as its starting point J.F. Burrows’s seminal stylometric study of dialogue in Jane Austen’s novels (Burrows, Computation into Criticism, 1987), although it also draws upon more recent developments in computer-based stylometric studies (including Digital Literary Studies, by Hoover, Culpeper, and O’Halloran, 2014), plus the Voyant Tools software package. This paper forms part of a larger project that employs stylometric methods of authorship attribution to study the authorship of co-written screenplays.

Warren Buckland is Reader in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University. His recent publications include Conversations with Christian Metz: Selected Interviews on Film Theory (co-edited with Daniel Fairfax, 2017), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory (co-edited with Edward Branigan, 2014), Hollywood Puzzle Films (ed. 2014), Film Theory: Rational Reconstructions (2012), and Puzzle Films: Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema (ed. 2009).

Daniele Cesarano – Screenwriter and Head of Drama Mediaset group

The Pleasure of Storytelling. From Cinema to Television

I wrote my first script at 24, the last one at 54. The first was a film, which I also directed, full of unrealistic ambitions and quotes from other films. The last was the final episode of the first season of Suburra - The Series, full of unrealistic ambitions and self-citations. That's why I decided to stop. I can not stay away from the ambitions. As a writer I went through the audiovisual revolution, the transition from cinema to television, which for me, but not only for me, was the transition from the duty of a story to the pleasure of the story-telling. It was the transition from having to mean something to the pleasure of entertaining. It was breathing. It was fun. It was the television series. At  least as long as it lasted…

Daniele Cesarano is Head of Drama for RTI SpA (Mediaset group). After a “wrong” directional debut with his film Zugzwang Obbligo di Giocare, Daniele finds his real passion: TV series.
Amongst others, he has been the head writer of: Distretto di polizia, seasons 3-4-5 (Taodue – Mediaset) ; RISDelitti Imperfetti, seasons 1-2-3 (Taodue – Mediaset) ; Romanzo Criminale – the series, seasons 1-2 (Cattleya – Sky) ; Suburra – the series, season 1 (Cattleya – Netflix – Rai).
He is Head of Drama at Mediaset since November 2016.

Luisa Cotta Ramosino - Writer and Creative Producer

Medici. Masters of Florence. Challenges and compromises of an International coproduction: characters, storytelling and production issues.

Creating, writing and producing a period drama  poses a series of challenges connected with the approach not only to the original historical materials, but also to the different traditions and practice of storytelling of the partners involved.
Deciding how far to go with creativity in interpreting the facts and how much faithful you want to be to the historical background is just the beginning of a process where finding a common language is the key.
Medici. Masters of Florence, a successful Tv series (Rai, Netflix, 2016- ; starring Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden in its first season and Sean Bean and Daniel Sharman in the second one) created by two American screenwriters, produced by an Italian production company and an Italian public broadcaster with a London based writers room (where British and Italian authors shared their talent and practice) is an interesting case study of how and how much production preconditions can influence the storytelling both virtuously and negatively. 
The evolution in the writing process along the now three seasons of the show (the third will be shot in the last months of 2018, when the second will be broadcasted) is the key to offer an insight on the difficult adventure of creating an  International series starting from a country with a relatively small market  and trying to get the best from different traditions both in terms of creativity and actual organization of work.

Luisa Cotta Ramosino, ph.d.,  has been working in last years as a freelance screenwriter for TV shows produced by leading Italian television companies such as Lux Vide (Un passo dal cielo, Don Matteo, Che Dio ci aiuti), Taodue (Distretto di polizia), Casanova (La musica nel cuore), and De Angelis Productions (La vita che corre). She has also been working as creative producer for many international projects: Medici-Masters of Florence (coproduction Rai-Netflix), The Devils (2019, starring Patrick Dempsey), Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Under the Roman Sky, Studio Uno, Preferisco il Paradiso).
She has a ph.d. in Applied Linguistics and has published extensively as cinema reviewer. Among her publications, there is also a book on one of the top Italian Tv series of the beginning of the century, Distretto di polizia (Dino Audino, 2010).

Neal Landau -  UCLA

Global TV On Demand: Authenticity and Empathy Across the Cultural Divide

How our need for human connection has expanded the global television marketplace from conventional, formulaic program genres into more localized, specific, authentic "native content".  This talk will explore the digital television revolution that's disrupted the once dominant linear, broadcast network business models that once cast the broadest net in order to generate the highest possible overnight ratings into diverse, niche content with an emphasis on authenticity.  Niche is the new mainstream, and the mandates at streaming (SVOD) behemoths like Netflix are variety and exclusivity.  With Amazon, Hulu, Apple, Facebook, and YouTube all producing their own programs, there has never been a higher demand for fresh, non formulaic content, or a better time to showcase your unique, original voice as writer, producer, director and/or showrunner.  The more specific you make a story, the more universal it becomes.

Neil Landau serves as Assistant Dean, Dean's Special Programs, and as Director of the MFA Writing for Television Program at UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, where he has been a professor for over 20 years. Neil's credits include the cult hit comedy Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead; Melrose Place, The Magnificent Seven, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Secret World of Alex Mack, Twice in a Lifetime, MTV's Undressed, The Young & the Restless, Monarch Cove, and one-hour drama pilots for CBS, ABC, ABC Family, Warner Bros., Disney, Lifetime, and Fremantle. Neil also served for several years as Executive Script Consultant in the international divisions of Sony Pictures Television and Columbia Pictures. His animated projects include the animated feature Tad: The Lost Explorer (aka Las Adventuras de Tadeo Jones), among the highest grossing movies in the history of Spanish cinema, for which he earned a Spanish Academy “Goya” Award (2013). Tad2 (Tadeo Jones and the Secret of King Midas) won another Goya Award for best animated movie; Tadeo 2 was also the highest grossing film in Spain for 2017. Neil co-wrote and served as Co-Executive Producer on the animated film Capture the Flag for Paramount; and the animated movie, Sheep & Wolves (2016). 
He is the author of the bestselling books: 101 Things I Learned in Film School (Grand Central Publishing, 2010; reissue in 2018 by Random House); The Screenwriter’s Roadmap (Focal Press, 2012, now in ten languages); and The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap (Focal Press, 2014, now in ten languages).
His 5th and latest book, TV Writing on Demand: Creating Great Content in the Digital Era, was published by Focal Press/Routledge/Taylor & Francis in February, 2018.