Undergraduate Thesis

Stage to Screen: Writing for Adaptation

For the culmination of her Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media, I chose to undertake an Undergraduate Honours Thesis with the goal of creating an original, substantive studio and research-based New Media project over the course of a semester. In addition to being a self-directed study, I worked in consultation with a Thesis Supervisor, as approved by the Department of New Media. To fulfill the rigorous needs of the intensive course, I was required to commit at least 20 hours a week towards the completion of the project, regularly meeting with faculty members, conducting academic research, gathering and presenting my information to peers, and performing the task at hand. As a writer hoping to contribute to the field of New Media, I undertook the challenges of  adapting my very own play script into a film screenplay and performing an in-depth investigation of the adpatation process.

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As part of the requirements for the thesis, I exhibited my work in a public forum and conducted an hour-long speech to the community, detailing the outcomes of the endeavour. I displayed my Undergraduate Thesis at the University of Lethbridge Penny Art Gallery from April 11-18, 2014 and performed an Artist Talk on April 12th, 2014. Successfully completing the project with an A+, I am now a proud diplomate of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media with an Honours Thesis Distinction.

A video recording of the Oral Defence :


As more and more literature is being adapted into films, there is a growing tendency for the public to unfairly judge adaptations from their original, not realizing the difficult and challenging process of transferring a story from one medium to the next. By adapting my very own play script into a screenplay script, I have gained valuable insight into the act of adaptation with all of its struggles and obstacles. Furthermore, specifically exploring the mediums of film and theatre not only illustrates their differing modes of communication, but also exploits the interconnection of storytelling between them as well.

Presenting to you the transformation that my story has undertaken from stage to screen, I hope that my work brings awareness to people that change is inevitable in this sort of endeavour and that adaptation is distinct from the original work. Moreover, the change in my work attests to the infeasibility of fidelity since the two mediums are different— theatre relies on ‘telling’ the word while film depends on ‘showing’ the image. These discrepancies prevent the original and the adaptation from ever being identical; each story must be told in accordance to the qualities of their respective mediums and it is my hope that my works tell the story to the best of their medium’s abilities.

– Czarina Zoleta

Feel free to view the entire project in detail here.
Praise for “Stage to Screen: Writing for Adaptation”

“I was consistently impressed with the degree and level of research and editing [Czarina] did throughout the term. The critical eye [she] always turned on her work serves her well. … [Her] enthusiasm for [her] subject is infectious.”

Dana CooleyAdvanced Studio Professor at the University Lethbridge