Screenbooks are the brainchild of screenwriting lecturer Jennine Lanouette. They are media-rich, interactive ebooks (hence the name “screenbooks”) that delve into the screenplay of classic films. The first movies singled out for this treatment were The African Queen (1951) and Thelma and Louise (1991).
The Screenbooks are aimed at film enthusiasts, students and teachers. They were apparently born out of a dissatisfaction with the academic bias towards print books, which can be counterproductive when teaching about film. That’s why these digital publications augment the written text with movie excerpts, audio clips, graphic illustrations and hyperlinks to additional information on special subjects. You can read sample chapters for both The African Queen and Thelma and Louise on the website of digital publisher Screentakes.
These screenbooks try to find ways to steer away from the classic text-based format by using audiovisual material whenever possible. They even go so far as to re-enact written interview quotes and illustrate them with cartoon visuals (take a look at the introduction to the Thelma and Louise screenbook). The result is a diverse media mix, which makes the learning experience certainly more varied. It will be interesting to see feedback from teachers and students on this format.