Lecturer on screenplay analysis launches Kickstarter campaign to fund eBook publishing projects

First prototype book focuses on the Bogart-Hepburn vehicle ‘The African Queen’ and uses iBooks Author to create an interactive reading experience that more closely reflects the author’s lectures

Thanks to the ease of creating eBooks, many new publishing ventures are launching. Most often the efforts of these new publishing entities are completely digital and so do not get counted when start-ups and new title launches are taken into account by the trade press, which often rely on firms whose count of new titles is so comically off that one wonders if they exist in some sort of parallel universe. Some of these start-ups begin life through fund raising effort using services such as Kickstarter.


Jennine Lanouette

Last week TNM was approached by representatives of Screentakes Media, a new eBook publishing company founded by Jennine Lanouette.

Lanouette publishes a website called Screentakes, and offers workshops and lectures in script analysis to production companies and film companies. She studied screenwriting herself at Columbia University, and now lives in the Bay Area.

Lanouette wants to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter to create a Screentakes eBook Series, having earlier this year released her first effort, The African Queen: A Screenplay Analysis.

The publisher/author used iBooks Author to create a 59 page interactive eBook that contains short clips of the famous John Huston film with narrated analysis overdubbed onto the clips, as well as some other interactive features. (James Agee and John Huston were credited as screenwriters of the film adaption of the C.S. Forester novel.)

“We have a cultural bias about text on a page,” said Lanouette in an announcement released to promote here Kickstarter campaign. “We think we have to be reading to be learning. My prototype multimedia eBook demonstrates that the combination of visuals, audio and text, plus some interactivity, makes for an engaging and enjoyable learning experience, even for the heady, in-depth structural analysis that I provide. What this means for me is that I get to take this subject I love to teach and make it available to many, many more people than I could ever reach in classrooms.”

3da56307a6bab3b454787432c98a1acf_largeLanouette had wanted to write a print book as an obvious extension of her screenplay lectures, but was frustrated that any print book would not be able to include the film clips she used.

“Then, just over a year ago, I discovered I could combine text and videos and interactive graphics using the Mac-based eBook authoring platform called iBooks Author,” Lanouette writes on her Kickstarter page.

“Very soon I was able to produce a prototype with a surprisingly effective user experience.”

“However, when I started exploring how to get my ebook out in the world, I was soon confronted with the fact that what I was able to create on iBooks Author would be difficult to replicate for non-Mac devices. The gritty realists told me this would considerably limit my market reach while the silver lining-inclined said, Don’t worry. Most people in the film industry are Mac-based anyhow.”

Lanouette, though, wants to go cross-platform, which is one of the goals of her Kickstarter campaign.

Update: the project was successfully funded.

Here is a gallery of pages from her prototype eBook. You can also see the Kickstarter promotional video here, or on her Kickstarter page here.

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