THREAD aims to publish EC script writers

by Beacon Staff • February 22, 2006

Have you written a movie you think has potential to be the next Brokeback Mountain? Maybe you wrote a television script for a show that could follow "Arrested Development." If you want to share your work with the Emerson community, you can now submit it to be considered for THREAD magazine's premiere issue, set to launch in April.

The submission deadline for the first issue is Feb. 25.

THREAD has plans to be Emerson's first literary anthology exclusively devoted to film, theatre, television and radio scripts, according to the magazine's press kit.

The magazine was created by Amanda Shank, a junior writing, literature and publishing major, and Stephen Christy, a junior TV/video major.

"We knew we wanted it to focus on scripts because that is one of our main areas of expertise," Shank said. "Stephen works with film and video, and I work a lot with theatre."

The magazine's mission statement asserts that THREAD's script-only format will fill a void in Emerson's current magazines, which are dominated by literary styles of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Other publications, including The Emerson Review and Gangsters in Concrete, print scripts, but the general feeling is that they're more focused on prose, Christy said.

"The Emerson Review has printed scripts in the past; we published at least one last year and the year before," said Rebecca Flanagan, a junior writing, literature and publishing major and co-editor-in-chief of The Emerson Review (Flanagan is also a copy editor for The Berkeley Beacon). "There is definitely an audience for this publication, and I think [THREAD] may open up lines of communication among a different breed of writers at Emerson."

Christy said he also thinks the new magazine will provide a more focused outlet for budding playwrights and screenwriters.

"Our hope for THREAD is that we put together an anthology that reminds everyone at Emerson just how many talented playwrights, screenwriters and TV writers we have at this college," Christy said.

Shank credits Christy with coming up with the anthology's abstract name. "It's like the thread of an idea," Shank said.

The magazine's launch has been publicized by fliers posted around campus and advertisements on The Emerson Channel, WECB and Emerson's e-Campus Web site. Shank and Christy have also created a group on Facebook.

"Word of mouth will start to create an interest in the magazine," Shank said.

"We've gotten about 200 pages' worth of submissions so far, but I'd like to have 400 to 500 pages' worth of material to choose from when we go to press," Christy said.

THREAD's proposed calendar includes the release of one issue per semester. A single issue will be approximately 150 pages, with a 30-page limit for each script.

"Ideally, we would like to get as wide a variety of stories as possible so [that] there is something in the first issue for everyone," Christy said of their submission policy. "The only real criteria we have for scripts is quality."

He said the staff decides which scripts will make the cut by reading them together and then making a "value judgment" between the great ones and the ones they feel are not good enough for publication.

THREAD and its editors will also receive a large amount of support and input from other organizations in the coming months.

The magazine will be financed and sponsored by spec, an on-campus screenwriting organization. Spec's president is Lucia Lopez, a senior film major. Spec is proud to have their named attached to THREAD, Lopez said.

"It's a great way for kids to have their work read by more people than they could reach on their own," she said.

This year marks spec's third annual screenwriting competition. In addition to their prize of past years-a Borders gift card and a reading of their script-the winner will now have their script published in THREAD's premiere issue, Lopez said. The winner has not yet been announced.

Shank and Christy's personal mentors. Jean Stawarz and Daniel Gaucher, both associate professors in the visual and media arts department, were instrumental in advising the students during the early stages of organizing the magazine, Christy said.

They further consulted with companies outside of Boston to help guide the publication process, such as Marvel Comics, where Christy worked as an editorial assistant last summer in New York City.

Student groups like Red Hand Collective, a playwriting group of which Shank is a member, and Yaargh, Matey! Productions, a student-run multimedia production group co-founded by Christy two years ago, offered initial support for THREAD by submitting scripts.

"I submitted a 10-minute play called Standing With Blackness that takes place in the Appalachian mountains revolving around the shooting of a 10-year-old boy's best friend," said Drew Larimore, a senior writing, literature and publishing major and creator of Red Hand Collective.

"THREAD is vital to Emerson because Emerson is filled with playwrights and screenwriters," Larimore said.

Scripts can be submitted via e-mail to THREADsubmissions@gmail.com. According to the proposed calendar, THREAD's design and production should be finished next month, and the first volume will be distributed, free of charge, in late April.