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Dr Phil Nichols, Faculty of Arts

Dr Phil NicholsPhil Nichols has a PhD from the University of Liverpool, holds an MA in Screenwriting, has a background in video production, and teaches all aspects of Film & Television Production. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

His research interest is in the screenplay as an interface between film production and literature, and adaptations to/from literature, film and other media. His primary focus is the American writer Ray Bradbury, who is best known for his short stories and novels in the popular genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction, but is also the writer whose authorship is most heavily engaged with self-adaptation.

Phil Nichols' work on Bradbury and screenwriting has taken him to leading international conferences on the fantastic, media adaptation, the short story and science fiction, at the University of California Riverside, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, University of Angers in France and Edge Hill University in the UK.

He serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana  (May 2007 to date) and the Editorial Board of The New Ray Bradbury Review, University of Indiana/Kent State University Press (March 2009 to date).

His website at http://www.bradburymedia.co.uk catalogues and reviews Bradbury's work across all media.

About my ERAS project: Author, screenwriter, auteur: a study of The Ray Bradbury Theatre.

This project, building on my recent PhD thesis on Bradbury, will examine his writing for television series Ray Bradbury Theater (1985-1992) – a body of work never before systematically studied.               

How do the poetics of (Bradbury’s) prose fiction become expressed when adapted to the television script? To what extent can the “camera eye” of (Bradbury’s) prose map onto the controlling narration of a screenplay? These research question lead to a wider question: What can be learned from Bradbury’s styles of prose and TV writing? Recent scholarship on Bradbury’s authorship (several book-length studies published in the last decade; a series of academic literary biographies; a Collected Stories critical edition series; an academic journal exclusively studying the author) has firmly established the importance of the cinematic to Bradbury’s fiction; this project breaks new ground by extending the study of authorship to Bradbury’s television scripts.

Ray Bradbury Theater has long been available for study. However, many researchers of screenwriting have pointed out that the study of “finished product” misleads: to assess the work of a screenwriter requires a study of scripts, not completed films. The principal research method of the proposed project, therefore, will be a study of Bradbury’s original teleplays.